We are a remodeling services company out of Hickory, NC area (Handyman Repairs & Remodeling Services), and recently we were contracted by a customer to replace a metal garage structure damaged in a tornado some months ago. We had just completed another repair project for this same customer for another building on his property, and were approached to look into his garage replacement as he was very pleased at our other work.
We were told by this customer of an ongoing frustrtaion he had dealing through some internet broker company called "Elephant Structures" previously who called themselves a Carolina Carports Manufacturer Agent or such. This other entity promised to rebuild his garage amidst an insurance claim he had and nothing to date was ever done- except he was upset at constant runaround and phone drops and other things he had to endure trying to get them, Elephant Structures/Carport.com, to do a complete site visit and measurement of his foundation and give him some possibilitis of what type buildings he could have and go from there. He initially gave them downpayment monies they required and all he knew is Carolina Carports, Inc (CCI) was to be building this. But for weeks nobody seemed to answer one single question he had, and one time a Spanish speaking fellow showed up and owner could not even talk to him. This same Carolina Carports employee who owner thought was measuring didn't do much and left owner hanging again without any tangible details in hand. So now, this customer as we were informed, canceled dealing to Carolina Carports and their Agent, Elephant Structures (Greensboro, NC), and was so confused by his bad experience for weeks. He asked me if our company would like to help him out and complete his garage building.
Now, my company comes into the picture, and though we had a couple major steel building manufacturers to deal with for this customer, we did ourselves engage in talks to Carolina Carports to learn more about them and see what they manufactured because they did have the best type structure for this customer's situation. I met with the customer on Saturday, October 29, 2011 and gave him three separate proposals for various buildings structures from 3 manufacturers we could work with and construct for his property. He chose the style Carolina Carports had, and I set contract with this customer to move forward. We proceeded to take some digital pictures of the danaged site and made a detailed measurement pictorial of the foundation site pad and we proceeded over a few days' time to repair damaged blockwork and filling a concrete block perimeter to provide a better solid base for which this new metal garage builing was to be installed upon. At first all was great. Carolina Carports' Sales Mgr (Richard Goings) seemed excited my company wanted to use their manufactured steel building products for the first time in hopes of our continued future business relationship in the future for other customer needs.
Once I submitted the detailed specs to Carolina Carports they provided me a same-day quote. We reviewed it and set a legal agreement with them to build said structure to custom designed details, not their regular run-of-the-mill basic 14gauge types. We then also sent a deposit check as was required to move in manufacturing. In this timeframe, my company cleaned up our customer's base site and repaired it and prepped it ready to accept this new custom built structure from Carolina Carports to be delivered to the site within the next 2 weeks as we were on the understanding. Richard Goings & Carolina Carports, Inc. were only waiting my office's final call to let them know we are finished with the concrete work to push our building through manufacturing process as we were told would happen due to lateness in year and weather, so this customer can have his garage back again after many months not having one.
This is where everything unravels with Carolina Carports, Inc (CCI). Last Thursday, 11/3/11 three Mexican guys show up on the jobsite with some metal building on a long trailer that was not the style, color, or heavier design my company custom ordered from CCI, which was "waiting" for my final word to go through manufacturing. This was the last day my guys worked at the customer's site with the concrete work, and here this mystery building shows up nobody has any idea about. I tried to tell the one fellow who spoke some English "my building" was waiting to be manufactured once we got the site pad ready. The customer had just came home too at that moment and the paperwork showed an order he was to pay for in full and these delivery guys tried to push this building off on us. I got upset and told them it was NOT my building and to leave the property. The customer got upset too and told them to leave his property and called Elephant Structures who was supposedly the CCI rep who he went through previosuly who took his monies and did nothing for him- so he canceled dealings with (so he thought). I called my Office Manager who called our Sales guy (Richard Goings) at CCI manufacturing and he even seemed upset why there was this "other" building delivered to site trying to be pushed on us as well. Then customer told me "this is what happened before to me Steve and why I am so upset", when he originally contactecd this CCI rep (Elephant) and without them meeting him or going over and specifics of his needs or the site, a building showed up in the past, again, wrong size for even his pad dimensions and they tried to force that on him too- and he refused it and tried to get answers ever since from Elephant & CCI getting nothing but phone drops from them in the process.
All we know now, is my company is ready to have our custom built 12 gauge custom designed structure from CCI manufactured & delivered to complete our contractual agreement with this elderly customer. On Wednesday, 11/9/11, I finally had our Sales Agent at CCI Corporate Offices (Richard Goings) arrange a 3-way call with his General Manager (Heather Smith) which was, as I thought then, a last minute review of our unique specifications drawing I already supplied them to ensure what they manufactured would assemble properly onto this customers foundation blockwork we repaired. I wanted them to MOVE forward on our building and get this manufactured and delivered to this site. Quickly this GM, turned everything around on me, seemingly making me to blame and responsible why CCI twice sent some inferior metal building to this man's property in the past (before we ever came into the picture), which he refutes he never ordered or agreed to; and they now wanted to make my company rsponsible for additional returned delivery costs and charges! I could not believe what I was hearing in this phone meeting. My business wih CCI and this customer is a separate transaction, has nothing to do with a previous transaction through Elephant Structures which this customer ceased dealing too, suspecting them in defrauding him out of funds. CCI stated they received none of those funds, yet they defended this Elephant about keeping his funds; and regardless how upset I was now getting over the phone, and demanded our building to be manufactured to all the agreement & specs we already supplied with deposit funds of $2,500.00, this GM at CCI got mad and spiteful to me and told me she was not going to listen to anything I had to say and to now not have her plant make our building because of two deliveries they made to this property in the past she was ranting about losses over.
Now, I do not know what happened in the past, and we never heard of Elephant Structures or carport.com ourselves either before all of this, except our dealings with this customer which have always been superior in past work we did for him. This Heather Smith seemed to make up stories andl ies and misconstrue facts blaming our customer now why 2 buildings in past showed up unannounced on his property and was trying to punish my company and building order because of that... This was luducrous to hear her go on about. She hung up phone connection at that point when I started to get mad hearing such blatant lies. Then a long E-Mail came from her that day telling me not to contact Richard Goings or CCI directly ever again and only to E-Mail her directly, and that CCI would refuse to do business with my company!
Now, I feel like I and my company is wrongfully being discriminated against in some strange way for something we did not do nor were associated to in the past. We have a legal signed agreement with CCI and detailed specs sent to them along with $2,500.00 deposit to build a specific style building. We have a site prepared which cost me labor & material costs to have ready now for this customer.... And we are now told CCI will not process our structure order because of this previous mess which we have no connection to or idea about. When we set contract with this customer of ours, we understood the past broker/dealer (Elephant) was out of the picture and the owner was trying to recoup his funds he sent them which they refused to give back... It did appear to us initially the customer was dealt with badly from this Elephant who is nothing more than some internet broker passing business through to the real manufacturer (CCI) only to get a commission or middle monies and never went to this customer's site. They seemingly tried to push prefab standard generalized type buildings from CCI onto this man's property in hopes he would take what he was forced with and they would get monies and be free & clear. They are not a builder or remodeler or construction professional in any manner to our knowledge. Nobody iI spoke with in my industry has heard of them either.
So I am writing this here as a warning right now to others (professionals or homeowners) regarding CCI and their supposed "reps" over the internet. We also have contacted the BBB out of Greensboro, NC regarding Elephant Structures/Carport.com (CCI dealer rep.) and NC State Attorney General's office where we filed formal complaint against CCI for renegging on our business agreement to manufacture our building as agreed to for this customer.... And we are meeting with legal council to review the potential now of discrimination lawsuit against this GM at CCI for refusing to now honor their agreement they made with us and supply us a custom building, which now is negatively affecting my business operations here. Why CCI cannot see thier dealer/rep confused this elderly customer and did him wrong in how they operate, yet refuse to go back on them, and now want to blame my company and my order makes no sense. There is more to this and we will get to the bottom of this, and as I informed the GM at CCI, will go as far as a property lien against them for my company's losses & costs now for damages they have done to my business refusing to follow-through on a legal agreement we have with them to build us a custom designed structure.