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Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/24/20 8:32 p.m.

On 11/8/2019 I signed a contract with a company named DaBella for 5 new "Fairfield" double-pane vinyl windows to be installed by 12/20/2019 with completion on 12/21/2019. This contract stipulated that the kitchen window was broken and that the order was a "Priority". Weeks went by with no further contact or updates. I called on 11/29/2019 trying to get a status update and was told that my windows were ordered and awaiting manufacture, which was "backlogged due to the holidays". On 12/4/2019 I was visited by a worker from "Alside" to do a "final measurement".

Weeks went by again with no further contact or updates. I contacted DaBella multiple times via email and phone both, and only ever received phone calls back from different people in various offices including Seattle, Idaho, and Portland, where I was always told a falsehood. I called for updates on 12/13/2019, 12/20/2019, and 1/2/2020. Every time I was told that my windows were "in transit".

When the snow came on 1/8/2020, I could not wait anymore and gave DaBella a written and verbal deadline of 1/16/2020 to have my windows installed. At this point the windows were not even delivered to the installer yet. I finally got responses from a Tyma Benge, a Customer Service Manager in the Hillsboro, Oregon location. Tyma verbally assaulted me over the phone and threatened me loud enough that multiple other customers heard her despite not being on speaker phone. She claims that the windows were ordered 12/16/19, a mere 5 days before the scheduled completion of the contract, and that I could walk away from the whole contract by abandoning my $1,000 deposit in exchange for them dropping the windows off, however I would need to sign an NDA that included a lifetime gag order on ever reporting them to the authorities or leaving an honest review.

Come to find out, DaBella is not the manufacturer or installer, they are a middleman sales company that contracted Alside in Portland, Oregon to manufacture and install the windows. I firmly believe that DaBella is nothing more than a shell corporation that exists to defraud consumers. I have filed a formal complaint with the Better Business Bureau but am at a loss on what other options I have before me. I absolutely will not allow DaBella, Alside, or any other party affiliated with them onto my private property. They are holding my $1,000 deposit from 11/8/2019 hostage and every time they contact me the terms of their NDA change. 

I've already contacted an attorney's office, but he's out all week. Help please, I'm really stressed out.

Robbie
Robbie MegaDork
1/24/20 8:36 p.m.

Well, um, what did you already sign with them? 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/24/20 8:38 p.m.
Robbie said:

Well, um, what did you already sign with them? 

A contract with an expected completion date of 12/21/2019. They did not order the windows until 12/16/2019, which violates their own terms.

johndej
johndej HalfDork
1/24/20 8:41 p.m.

Sounds like they broke the contract. If you've got a lawyer who's interested in taking the case for sub $1000 can see how much they wanna fight for.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/24/20 8:56 p.m.

The big one is this:

Delay/Unknown Conditions: I understand that if Contractor determines within sixty (60) days of the date of this Agreement that it cannot perform the work according to Contractor’s professional standards, Contractor can cancel this Agreement, notify me of cancellation, and promptly return my money. I understand that issues that may cause Contractor to cancel this Agreement would be incorrect pricing or unknown pre-existing conditions to my property. I understand that Contractor is not responsible for structural or other defects in my property, and that Contractor’s products do not cure these problems. I also understand that the work could be delayed by events that Contractor does not control, and that is acceptable to me. Some of the things that could cause the work to be delayed would be acts of God, labor strikes, inclement weather, material shortages, my inability to qualify for or obtain financing I need to pay for the work, or delays by local government authorities in issuing or approving inspections, permitting, or other required authorizations for the work.

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/24/20 8:57 p.m.

I would think that failure to order the materials at all would constitute a "delay" preventing the business from performing the work as contracted.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
1/24/20 9:27 p.m.

Small claims court? I'd bet a notice to appear would get a refund of your deposit sent out pretty quickly. We need Ovid & Flem back for questions like this.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
1/24/20 9:38 p.m.

The way I read that, you've got about 30 more days before they're forced to return it- that 60 day clause is a real E36 M3pile. There's also no Providence in there for you to pull the plug on your own. Reads very cya on their part. 

 

Edit- it further appears that a lot of people have had extremely questionable dealings with them , at least as far as a cursory Google search goes. 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/24/20 9:40 p.m.
Mndsm said:

The way I read that, you've got about 30 more days before they're forced to return it- that 60 day clause is a real E36 M3pile. There's also no Providence in there for you to pull the plug on your own. Reads very cya on their part. 

Original contract was signed 11/08/2019. 60 days was 1/8/2020.

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
1/24/20 9:43 p.m.

In reply to Javelin :

I'm thinking they're going to pull some mumbo jumbo out and use the December date as the contract, at least thusfar. Its sort of ambiguous as its worded. 

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
1/24/20 9:54 p.m.

Find another attorney and get the ball rolling.  The attorney will unravel the shell corporation stuff and fire off a warning shot to whomever's responsible.  These guys will not be showing up to do your windows.  Their "customer service" representative calling and berating you is a tactic often employed by fly-by-night companies who have no intention of delivering goods or services.

 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/24/20 10:02 p.m.
Mndsm said:

In reply to Javelin :

I'm thinking they're going to pull some mumbo jumbo out and use the December date as the contract, at least thusfar. Its sort of ambiguous as its worded. 

There's only one contract, and it's clearly dated.

Floating Doc
Floating Doc SuperDork
1/24/20 10:20 p.m.

Small claims is the way to go, the question is who do you serve?

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
1/24/20 10:34 p.m.
Floating Doc said:

Small claims is the way to go, the question is who do you serve?

Hence the attorney.  Unraveling shell corporations is incredibly time-consuming.  Sadly, the case will require a lawsuit if the letter from the attorney doesn't slap someone over at the window place into action. That's why the down payment is a grand.  Most won't pursue it because there won't be much left after the lawyer.

jgrewe
jgrewe Reader
1/24/20 10:57 p.m.

Any local TV stations have one of those consumer protection reporters that you can contact? I had a friend that had problems with a brick paving company.  They took the info and showed up with a camera at the guys office asking questions.  For some reason the guy was more than happy to come up with the funds to return the deposit that day.

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
1/25/20 5:16 a.m.

First off, Alside has nothing to do with the screwing.  They're a large national manufacturer and supplier.  Your company has literature printed up with the alside specs and is passing them off as their own brand.  Private labeling.  They are a middle man who takes your money to sell you something you can't just walk into an alside location and order yourself, because they don't sell installation services to joe public.  I used to measure for them.  Your beef is with the middle man, not Alside.  
 

Other than being sick to your stomach to write the final check to the scuzzy middleman who keeps blowing you off, Alside has a good product and warranty program and instead of trying to push for cancellation I would see if trying to get $ off the final invoice gets you into a better position to just get it done and over with.  Yes, they sound like the kind of dicks that make everyone in my profession look like a dick, but when you get into those kinds of businesses(i can name you a dozen local to me) you're going to get the sleazy sales guy who literally will write up anything as long as you sign it and he gets his cut.  I've been around those guys, they're everywhere.  "Sure, we can get this done in a day with no specks of dust left anywhere and you're good to go for thanksgiving" while you're feeding your family with no kitchen ceiling and sheets of drywall piled up in the living room for weeks.  

the disclaimer you're quoting says the contractor can cancel WITHIN 60 days, not beyond.  Also under reasons for delay they may very well be dealing with material shortage.  If the Alside factory isn't pushing windows out fast enough, if middle man doesn't order in time, technically there's a material shortage.  The disclaimer on the contract you have negates the need for them to stick to the promised date they told you.  Fine print and whatnot.  It also says "cannot perform work to contractors professional standards" not "cannot perform work to the promises made on the contract."   Contractor's professional standards are only as good as the skills, conscience, and scruples of said contractor.  I can guarantee mine are way higher than theirs. 

good luck 

 

 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/25/20 10:47 a.m.

In reply to Patrick :

DaBella not ordering from Alside until 12/16 is not a product shortage, it's negligence.

Thanks for the info on Alside. Since they are apparently not that bad maybe finishing this out is an option. Their local reviews (and BBB rating) are pretty low though fwiw.

Patrick
Patrick MegaDork
1/25/20 11:38 a.m.

Negligent ordering is probably somehow covered under the legalese product shortage umbrella.  Just trying to think like a lawyer.  Around here they were pushing it to get the install done on your timeline based on what i know about alside's measuring, production, and the local to me installation department.  Salesman probably knew this, knew they had the CYA fine print, and lied to your face.  When we were ordering their windows it was 2 fridays out provides you ordered by friday afternoon, missing that cutoff pushed you back a week.  And that's post final measurement order, not putting the order in.  
 

Reviews are a funny thing.  Every upset person is going to leave a negative review, but maybe 1/100 happy customers will bother.  
 

personally, i am upset with alside for unrelated reasons mostly due to the management of the local branch, so I don't use their products anymore, but they do make a good window with factory backed warranty and will send out parts no questions asked 20 years later for my customers.  

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
1/25/20 1:30 p.m.

In reply to Patrick :

That's good to know. If Alside is a good company maybe I should just finish the install. I was happy with the products which is why I started this while process anyway.

lnlogauge
lnlogauge HalfDork
1/25/20 4:40 p.m.

No attorney is going to touch this for 1k damages. 3-4 hours of work and you're paying them more than your loss. Small claims is your way to go, but that's alot of effort and stress on your part.

BBB is a waste. Filing a formal complaint is going to go no where, since they have zero enforcement or reason to do anything about it. The fact that you can buy a BBB rating should tell you more of what they are after. 

 

 

drainoil
drainoil Dork
1/25/20 4:47 p.m.

I have nothing to offer to help you but I feel your pain in that I’ve had a pretty crappy experience with a home remodeling company. 

dxman92
dxman92 HalfDork
1/25/20 10:33 p.m.

Contact somebody with the state?

docwyte
docwyte UberDork
1/26/20 9:02 a.m.

Did you pay the deposit with a credit card?  If so, call the credit company and dispute the charges.  I don't pay anything with checks anymore, this is one reason why. 

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
1/26/20 9:12 a.m.

Patrick has pretty much covered it. 

Finish the install, or walk away from your $1000. 

Now is the wrong time to discover there are bad reviews online. That’s due diligence, and it should have been done before signing. 

Keep your sanity. Don’t go down a deep hole that will not give you satisfaction. 

Javelin
Javelin MegaDork
2/3/20 6:56 p.m.

Sitrep: 

I spoke with my property attorney associate and he advised much the same, it's not worth going after the $1K and since the windows actually do exist, it's better to go ahead with the install since then I would have the warranty and what-not and could actually post reviews and try and bleed them for a kick-back.

So my installation was scheduled for 1 day, Friday 1/31. They sent a total of 2 workers to remove and replace 5 windows in a 2-story in 8 hours. Needless to say, that didn't happen. Alside did not provide nearly enough casing and trim and the Z-channel stuff was wrong, so these poor guys (who are subcontractors to Alside, not employees) had to purchase all of those things. They worked 6 hours Friday, 8 hours Saturday, and are up to 8 hours today so far and it's still not done. In addition, the bathroom window was manufactured incorrectly so the sliding part falls out of the frame and the vent on one of the upstairs windows is all deformed. (Note - these fellas have been working very hard, cleaning up after themselves, and being completely transparent with everything, I have nothing bad to say about these guys).

The BBB accepted my complaint, DaBella responded, and I responded back. I expect that this will continue to be an astronomical headache that I should have listened to future SWMBO on. 

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