• Report: #1068326
Complaint Review:

Studio Cleary

  • Submitted: Fri, July 19, 2013
  • Updated: Fri, July 19, 2013

  • Reported By: DLG — Charlotte North Carolina
Studio Cleary
Charlotte , North Carolina USA

Studio Cleary $800 lost Charlotte North Carolina

*REBUTTAL Owner of company: inaccurate complaint

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I have used lanscapers before and have been frustrated when their efforts do not meet my expecations,.

Generally they provide a drawing with latin plant names and boxes showing where to plant, but this time  wanted to have an illustration of what the yard would look like before I spent the money.

I told my my landscaper that I would pay up to $500 for this kind of illustration and he recommended Cleary Studios.

Ted Clearly came to visit me, started by saying that he understood my needs and my budget and that would not be a problem.

We walked the garden and I mentioned numerous times that I wanted a yard with a lot of color and an illustration of what the front garden would look like before I spent the monies with the landscaper.

He then told me it would cost $800 (60% more than I expected), but he seemed knowledgable and I gave him the go ahead.

A few weeks later he sent a detailed architectural drawing with latin plant names and a hastily sketched drawing of flowers around my front driveway mailbox (not asked for or desired) but no other depiction of the areas of focus.

When I asked him how I could see what he was suggesting, I was told that I could look the plant names up online and see pictures - exactly what I did not want to do.

I expressed my disappointment and did not get anywhere. I asked for a partial refund and was refused.

Bottomline I spent $800 for absolutely nothing that I can use.

Stay away from this guy.. he makes promises and doesn't deliver.

This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 07/19/2013 07:28 AM and is a permanent record located here: http://www.ripoffreport.com/reports/studio-cleary/charlotte-north-carolina-28205/studio-cleary-800-lost-charlotte-north-carolina-1068326. The posting time indicated is Arizona local time. Arizona does not observe daylight savings so the post time may be Mountain or Pacific depending on the time of year.

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Updates & Rebuttals

#1 REBUTTAL Owner of company

inaccurate complaint

AUTHOR: Ted - ()

Although I've already invested a disproportionate amount of time in trying to satisfy my client, Don Goodman, I feel it should be noted that his complaint here contains several misleading and downright inaccurate claims.  Thankfully these type of clients are a rare breed, but their claims deserve to be addressed.  

First off, I'll acknowledge the positive:  to his credit, Mr. Goodman was a relatively prompt payer, requiring only one followup reminder which he promptly responded to with balance paid in full.  (As any small business owner knows, this is not always a given.)

I was referred to this client by a landscape contractor I casually know.  When I arrived at his home, I could see why he's "used landscapers before and been frustrated when their efforts did not meet his expectations."  He'd hired a company one or two years previously to install it (one that I'm familiar with and immediately understood why he was dissatisfied), and the results were a great number of dead plants, most others whose growth was clearly stunted, poor design and species choices (both aesthetically and horticulturally), drainage problems, and soil that was obviously never amended --- the cause of the aforementioned troubles.

I patiently pointed all this out; however, my efforts seemed to be falling on deaf ears.  When Mr. Goodman stated emphatically that he did not want to spend more than $2000 to correct all this, I had to gently explain that this was not a realistic number.  (It is, in fact --- speaking candidly here without the need for the diplomacy of conversation --- a wildly unrealistic budget for the work he wanted done.  It would not even pay for the raw material costs, at trade prices, for plants, soil amendments, and drainage components needed, absent of the labor.)  It started to become clear to me that he'd probably gotten that kind of price in his head based on whatever the last guy charged for his poor installation.  Yet he could not seem to grasp that you get what you pay for; go figure.  As all this emerged in our conversation, I wondered, and said so out loud, why did they both feel it was necessary to hire a landscape architect to design a plan when, for that limited budget, a landscaper could have just stuck a few new plants in and done some other band-aids, without benefit of anything more than a scribbled drawing at best.  But Mr. Goodman was clear he wanted my services, so I suggested that I might as well design the landscaping as it should be designed, that is to say:  do it properly but of good value, so that it enhances his fairly-expensive home & neighborhood without going "overboard".  I would also add details of a few other ideas (none of which I have any vested interest in, being an independent architect rather than an installer) that I felt would be nice additions to correct some architectural shortcomings, e.g. a trellis for flowering vines over the garage.  As I clearly emphasized, all of these "nice-to-haves" could be either rejected or put off to a Phase II, which is a concept that most all my clients, whether their budgets are $30K or $450K, welcome as a 'road map' to further improvements one or five years later, while they've paid me for my services to look at their property holistically.  Mr. Goodman indicated he approved of that idea, we signed a contract and I promptly began his project.

Out of deference to the unrealistically low fee of $500 the landscaper quoted (who doesn't work for me & is unfamiliar with typical rates), I calculated a 20% reduction in what the design work should have been billed at, to $800, which Mr. Goodman, as he states, agreed to.  I specifically stated that I could keep his fee lower like this by allowing him to look up my labeled plant species in Google Images (rather than me providing printed-out photos of every species, as was my practice till several years ago); I explained that most clients today preferred that Google option, and he clearly stated he did too.....NOT "I was told that I could look the plant names up online and see pictures - exactly what I did not want to do.???

It's ironic that the person you try to do the best effort for can be the very one who complains; in this case working overtime hours to  put a special rush completion on the project which he pushed for, which (although, certainly it was my own decision), I accommodated by delaying my family's beach trip for a day, at a cost of their disappointment and about a hundred dollars.  What is it they say?:  No good deed goes unpunished.

Besides a professional-quality scaled design drawing (of the caliber that any registered landscape architect should produce), the design work included a professional-quality illustration of what the landscaping would look like as it matured, with appropriate flower color, plant textures and the like, just as he'd requested.  It was a digitally painted illustration (not the sort of "cut & paste" software some landscapers use where they plunk plants into a photo for an unrealistic appearance of bloomtimes all at once), which took 3 hours of my time to produce.....NOT "a hastily sketched drawing of flowers around my front driveway mailbox (not asked for or desired) but no other depiction of the areas of focus." As the illustration's base, I chose a panoramic photo I'd taken of the front yard to best show all areas of the entire composition.

When I next heard from Mr. Goodman, expecting the usual feedback of gratitude for a job well done, i was surprised to hear nothing but displeasure.  I patiently addressed each of his requests:  "color all year round" (would require changing out large masses of annual flowers that would cost his stated budget yearly)......"shrubs and groundcover close together to the point that no mulch is seen" (I explained that to plant so densely wouldn't allow any room for growth to eventually touch and form masses, and would, by my rough estimation, require about $25,000 instead of anything close to his $2000)......plant names on the Plan that he had no interest in bothering to research (I explained that the detailed drawing he received contained both botanical, i.e. Latin, names and common names, not to impress or to obfuscate, but rather because it's very important for a contractor to accurately select a specific plant and its cultivar that the designer chose).  Oddly, Don Goodman repeatedly assured me that he trusted my expertise, yet nothing we suggested (including the landscaper taking the extra step of actually leading him around a nursery to educate him and understand what particular plants appealed to him), seemed to assure him that he was getting quality work, designed and to be installed by competent professionals.

To sum all this up, what we have here is a simple case of a customer who cannot buy what he wants (a well-designed and installed landscape) with the unrealistic amount of money he is willing to spend for it, so he "has absolutely nothing that [he] can use" and therefore, concludes that the professionals he's authorized to do work don't deserve to get paid.  To use an anology, it'd be as if a client hires Don Goodman's "About Jobs" resume writing service to land a CEO position of a large corporation, with his only credentials being a high school diploma.....and then gets upset that his dream job never comes along, despite Mr. Goodman having patiently explained that his client doesn't have the resources to work with.  And therefore, wants his money back.      

So....what was this "partial refund" that Mr. Goodman asked for? --- $500 (equal to about 2/3rds of the fee), leaving me with $300 for 3-1/2 days of professional services.  My conclusion: Unh-uh.  While I would like to agree with that hackneyed oversimplification that "the customer is always right", sometimes that just isn't true.  The only reason I can conclude that Mr. Goodman decided he'd enjoy trying to smear me in this forum, rather than taking the proper recourse of filing a Small Claims case in our county court, is that he fully realizes that once I present my side --- the 'deliverables' of a detailed Landscape Plan and a quality colored perspective illustration, along with a painstaking existing-site survey, photos and a contract whose clear terms were thoroughly met --- the magistrate would likely rule against him.  But I welcome the opportunity.  







































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