On October 7, 2000 we were coerced into placing a $30,000 deposit on a Lindal home, in order to lock in the "best ever" Summer Promotion. We were lured in by their model home, an impressive collection of promotional materials, and the statement that you could take one of their existing designs and make several rounds of changes for no additional engineering fees.
Once they had our money, the process turned into a nightmare. Progress slowed to a crawl. The all-important first step, a site evaluation was never done! They tried to design a home for our building site, which is on a hill, without care about the slope of the land, or orientation.
It was obvious that the Dealer was not following the advertised procedure. There was no sign of any design ability, let alone CAD, and therefore no rapid turn-around capability. Our Saleslady was billed as a "Consultant". Her confused notes would get mailed to Lindal where they would get misinterpreted. We were floored when the first set of plans came back from Seattle. They did not represent our requested changes, that we had spent so much time and effort describing. We were told MONTHS into the project that design elements which we originally wanted to incorporate could not be done. These included French doors and a sunroom with a solid roof and overhang, which are clearly shown in their books!
As we were getting into the summer of 2001, and running out of time to begin building before the bad weather would close in, I asked if I could address stumbling blocks directly with Lindal drafting, and was told "NO!"
I wrote a letter to Lindal management, and sent it FedEx overnight due to the urgency. Astoundingly, it took weeks to get an answer. My letter had been passed down to the V.P. of Operations who left a voicemail, stating that they were looking into it. I got tired of waiting, finally got through to him, only to find he had absolutely no answers for me, and passed the buck to the Regional Sales Manager, who, long story short, dropped the ball entirely by doing nothing.
Besides the serious design problems, we were never updated on the cost of Lindal's material package, which should have been less than the amount on our original Contract for two important reasons: (1) We had DELETED many items, such as skylights, and doors, after finding that Lindal charged more than 2X the going local prices of equivalent or better grades, and (2) The calculations were (intentionally?) incorrect on the Contract. It was sloppily written, thereby hiding the "mistakes", but the 50% promotional discounts were NOT given for the garage and sunroom. Because of these mistakes, the contract was written for nearly $16,000 too much, in such a clever way, that I didn't even notice it at the time! After making our changes, Lindal couldn't/wouldn't tell us how much their material package would cost us!
The killer came when their Builder hit us with a bid - late in the game - for about $630,000, when our target and mortgage pre-approval had been for $400,000. "How much did you want to spend?" That came by early-morning voice-mail on my work phone, knowing I wouldn't be there. He then pulled a disappearing act - which, as I later learned, was par for him - he had once walked off a job for six months, and then resurfaced, demanding payment. This is the guy who came so highly recommended by our Lindal Dealer, and one of their regular builders.
Going in, you are given the impression that you are going to be treated to a supportive process consisting of Lindal, their local Dealer, and the Builder, standing ready to build your dream home. They turn into The Evil Triangle. As the process unfolds, the term "independent" turns from a whisper to a shout, and you find you are dealing with three businesses, none of which wants to take the responsibility for anything as things go wrong, and it becomes impossible to proceed.
Our $30,000 deposit? To date, not recovered.
Lindal allowed the Dealer to skim $9,000, even though we were specifically told by our "Consultant" that they do not get paid until the materials are shipped - borne out by the Dealer Contract, which shows that the full deposit should have been forwarded to Lindal. They've also disappeared, having done very little of the long list of support they were supposed to provide.
Lindal has NEVER responded directly to us. However, we did receive an accounting (with trumped-up calculations) through one of our attorneys in the form of a "Confidential Cancellation Check Request for Lindal Internal Use Only". It was dated 11/15/01, but kept secret, never made known to us previously. They would have paid us less than half our deposit back, on top of having dashed our dream of finally building our own home.
At least we cut our losses. We never signed the shipping papers. Otherwise, we would have had a pile of building materials dumped on us too, at a much greater cost than buying the same materials locally.
I can't say more now, but justice should be served soon, and there will be an Update.
Gladstone, New Jersey Click here to read other Rip Off Reports on Lindal Cedar Homes