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Report: #1530543

Complaint Review: SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids, IA - Hiawatha IA

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  • Reported By: Amy S. — Fairfax IA United States
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  • SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids, IA 111 Miller Road Hiawatha , IA United States

SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids, IA ROBARB, LLC Fire Restoration Hiawatha IA

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Read, Learn, and Pass it On. 

On the evening of March 29, 2021, our father’s home sustained damage due to an electrical fire. He escaped uninjured but was forced to relocate. This Cedar Rapids home is a pillar on First Avenue’s Northwest side and has been in our family since our grandmother purchased it on May 15, 1951.

March 31, 2021, was the day that our father signed the contract with ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids, IA to complete the restoration of our family home. The owner, project manager, our father, as well as three family members, and our insurance claims representative, were present at this meeting. They assured our father that ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids could take care of all cleaning, restoration, and storage of his personal property and that the timeline for completion would be 6-9 months. 

At the time, it was reassuring to our father that a local company would be overseeing the entire process of restoration, reconstruction, storage, as well as “cleaning”. Little did we know that this journey would consume almost three years of our lives. Nov. 29, 2023, marked 32 months to the day that our father signed the contract with ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids. 

Yes, the exorbitant bill has been paid but there is much left to be said. This is a forewarning to anyone who may ever need assistance after a disaster when decision-making is driven by emotions, distress, and uncertainty. Please read through our experience so that you will be better prepared than we were when our father signed his agreement with ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids in 2021.

Our father passed away on Oct. 1, 2021, and was never able to return to his beloved home. Throughout the reconstruction, we were continually given multiple completion dates by both the project manager and the owner of the company beginning in July 2022. The delays required our family to obtain two claim extensions from our insurance company, as this work was not completed within their 2-year underwriting limit for the claim to be finalized and closed. 

Also, because of multiple delays, family members who eventually purchased the home were forced to reapply for mortgages due to the expiration of rate locks they had secured with their financial institution. By the time they could close on the transaction, their interest rates had increased by over 2%.

Because the project manager was rarely on-site, many unnecessary setbacks occurred. On May 8, 2023, the ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids project manager admitted to his failures in a meeting that was prompted by our family and several Cedar Rapids Building Inspectors.  He assured us that he would “Make it right”. When the General Manager was asked about this, his response was, “The comment made by _____ to "make it right" was never meant as a financial commitment to the ______ family on behalf of Servpro.”   If not a financial commitment, how else could Servpro make things right for their admitted negligence?

Here are just a few of the adversities that occurred over the course of 32 months:  

- Multiple subcontractors were used during the reconstruction, including out-of-state subcontractors. Their availability was limited and sporadic. When one subcontractor failed to complete a job, another had to pick up where the first one left off.

- The errant disposal of original wood trim that had not been damaged in the fire. We happened to be at the house one day when a ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids employee was removing a pile of debris that included some of the original dining room trim. We rescued those few pieces, but some had already been discarded. New wood base and case moldings had to be milled - and our family was charged for this work. 

- Family heirlooms were lost at the ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids storage facility including all the curved wood shelving for a cherished antique china cabinet and the hardware for our grandmother's century-old, custom-made dining room table. The project manager was made aware of these missing items, and we had no resolution or reimbursement. Also lost or misplaced was our mother’s antique cheval bedroom mirror. We were reimbursed for this item, but this family heirloom is now gone. 

- Over $4,300 in damages to personal property were incurred during the move-out with White Glove Movers, as well as during the cleaning process at Servpro’s facility in Hiawatha, Iowa Although the damages were paid, this further supports our opinion that their sub-contractors and employees lacked the expertise required in dealing with vintage and antique personal property - see photos attached. 

- A water leak in the kitchen ceiling damaged newly installed drywall due to a sub-contractor failing to properly install a water line (photo attached.) 

-The side entrance to the home was secured by a pole affixed to the base of the door for 2.5 years before a new door was finally installed. (photo attached). 

-On Sept. 28, 2023, the project manager texted, "Paint and plaster schedule is not good right now." and advised us to hire our own subcontractor to finish remaining paint work and drywall repair and to send them the bill. The work was completed by our subcontractor and we remitted payment for $3,981.00 since ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids failed to do so. 

When we requested reimbursement for the paint and drywall repair work, the General Manager responded, "Neither our contract or final invoice reflect the work that _________ contracted ___________ to complete. Also, that text message does not provide any sort of contractual obligation for us to honor the _________ invoice." 

We received the final invoice on Nov. 15, 2023, from the General Manager, although no final inspections had yet been completed by the City of Cedar Rapids Building Department. This was quickly brought to his attention, and it was made clear that no payment would be remitted until there was proof of passed inspections. As one would expect, the inspections happened quickly since payment was being withheld. 

Interestingly, this was our first communication with the company’s General Manager over the course of 32 months and it was made blatantly clear that interest would accrue if the bill was not paid within 30 days. How unfortunate that this same sense of urgency was nonexistent throughout the restoration process. 

One would have to question the 56% increase in costs from the initial dwelling claim estimate to the actual invoice. It is quite astounding that the final invoice was 18% more than the actual assessed value of the home. We find it ironic that in the community we live in multiple homes have been built from the ground up in much less time than it took ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids to complete the restoration of our home. 

To ensure that other consumers are not burdened with the experience that we endured, we suggest that you consider the following:

1. Take the time to read the ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids contract thoroughly. If you don’t understand the language, have an attorney review it for you. It will be money well spent. If you or your attorney have any hesitation at all, take your business elsewhere. 

2.  If it is an insurance claim-related repair and your insurance provider insists this company be used to perform the work, we strongly advise you to create a service agreement addendum that outlines dates for completion and monetary penalties for failure to meet those deadlines. If ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids refuses to sign your service agreement addendum, take your business elsewhere. If you must - before you engage in a contract with this company, request the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all subcontractors that will be involved in your project. Confirm with them their availability and work history with ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids. If they cannot provide this information, take your business elsewhere.

3. Demand the construction/remodel restoration credentials for all ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids employees assigned to your project, as well as references from clients for work they have completed. If they cannot or will not provide these credentials and references, take your business elsewhere.

4. If your insurance provider insists that you use ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids, remind them that YOU are the customer and then take your business elsewhere. 

5. In our experience, the spoken and written words of our project manager as well as the owner of ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids proved to be consistently unreliable, if not outright lies.  In hindsight, we should have taken our business elsewhere. 

6. A formal complaint was filed with SERVPRO’S corporate headquarters in Gallatin, TN, only to be deferred back to the local franchisee, ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids. Be aware that SERVPRO INDUSTRIES, INC. prioritizes supporting their local franchisee rather than their paying customer. Take your business elsewhere.   

We have documented communications with ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids, including emails, photos, and videos of the multiple challenges our family has faced since March 31, 2021, but anticipate that this business will have contradictory responses to our testimonial. However, the facts remain.  It took this company 32 months to complete a project that they committed to our father would take 6-9 months. 

In our opinion, this company is a high-dollar carpet cleaning business, at best. They lack the competency, expertise, and organizational skills required to perform restoration and remodeling services. Their slick advertising promoting their ability to provide these services is blatantly misleading. 

ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids' website states that they "understand the stress and worry that comes with a fire or water damage and the disruption it causes your life and home or business." That has certainly not been our experience. The stress and disruption was nothing short of monumental for our family. 

We say all of this to create awareness for consumers. If a natural disaster or any unexpected catastrophic event impacts your family, take the time to thoroughly consider all your options. ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids may tout themselves as trusted leaders in the restoration industry with promises to return your property to “like it never even happened” condition but be prepared for a journey that will leave you questioning the capabilities of this business, as well as their ethics.

We are steadfast in our mission to honor our father’s legacy. He was a lifelong Cedar Rapidian and proud WWII Veteran who entrusted and believed that ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids had the utmost concern for our situation and would complete the repairs of his home in a timely manner.  He came from a generation that entrusted people to follow through with what they said they would do. 

If our parents and grandparents were alive today, they would be demoralized by what has transpired over the past three years. Through it all, this 115-year-old stately home remains in our family, and for that we are grateful. 

Lastly, we hope that this account of our experience has enlightened consumers as to the pitfalls of signing a contract with ROBARB, LLC dba SERVPRO of Cedar Rapids. If you are an insurance company or insurance claim representative reading this post, please support your customers by never referring them to this company.

Note: All video and most photo files of the house interior were too large to upload to the site!



This report was posted on Ripoff Report on 01/04/2024 10:56 PM and is a permanent record located here: 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. Ripoff Report has an exclusive license to this report. It may not be copied without the written permission of Ripoff Report. READ: Foreign websites steal our content

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#1 General Comment


AUTHOR: Jeff - (United States)

POSTED: Tuesday, January 16, 2024

I have successfully dealt with this in the past and would be happy to help you resolve this. Call or email me and I'd be happy to explain.    Jeff 972-954-2190

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