Certapro Painters Complaint - Certapro Tore Up Our Yard & Never Repaired Damages

Review by Treena on 2010-11-28
SIMI VALLEY, CALIFORNIA -- Our next door neighbor hired Certapro Simi Valley for a job which included painting their side of shared property fence and replacing 2 posts. Without getting our consent, the site supervisor and other crew wrongfully entered our property and did almost all of the construction in our yard. In addition to trespassing, they made changes to our property, again, without our permission. They dismantled the fence and strewn it across our lawn along with piles of dirt, pieces of cement and splinters of wood. They dug holes so far from the fence that they busted our sprinkler pipe. Then, rather than building a mound and sloping the concrete away from the posts as was done originally, Certapro simply filled the holes with cement ridged at the top, taking away a chunk of our lawn. Plus, the 2 new posts were installed onto our property so they were not in line with the rest of the fence.

When we came home and saw our yard trashed, we notified the neighbors who brought the foreman over the next morning. He agreed to make changes and let us see the fixes before the fence was reinstalled. We asked him for a business card. He said he didn’t have one on him but would get one. However, while we were gone from 9:15 AM to 10:45 AM, Certapro once again came on our property without authorization, covered the cement with dirt, put back the fence and, in the process, cracked most of the boards on our side, including the two new posts. In addition, they not only failed to re-install the bottom rails but took them without our approval. Meanwhile, the foreman left the premises and didn’t leave a business card. When we pointed out our concerns to the site supervisor, he gave us no contact information but said they’d be back Monday.  They never returned.

We later learned that Certapro is only licensed as a painting contractor. But since the company charged the neighbors less than $500 for the posts, Certapro didn’t need to meet the eligibility requirements imposed by the state of California for fence contractors. When we wrote a letter to the owner, Matt Hampton, he claimed to know nothing about the situation and his crew's illegal activities. After we presented photos showing the construction not on the client’s property but on ours, he apologized but did not say what would be done to prevent future violations. We, therefore, wrote to the franchise operation’s headquarters and informed the CEO, Charlie Chase, of our experience. We also requested that the company adopt measures not permitting its franchisees to disregard local laws. We never received a response.
Company Response on 12/16/2010:
Thank you for taking the time to communicate to us why we did not meet your expectations. We have every desire to address your needs and provide the best solution available to resolve your issue.

I apologize for the mistakes that we may have made. When I was first approached me with the complaint it was more than 3 months after the fence had been repaired. I immediately responded with an apology both verbally and in writing on more than one occasion. I also offered to pay for the portions of the fence that I felt we were responsible for. The offer I made was accepted and the check was cashed.

Please be assured that we stand by our values of providing the best service we can. We take all postings seriously and we want to make sure all legitimate concerns are addressed. We strive to maintain our 98% customer referral rating.

Below is the actual letter that I wrote to the consumer to show my genuine concern for the damage.

I want to post this letter to show how serious we are and were about meeting expectations and solving problems. I want to make it clear that we did take responsibility for our actions. I am sorry that this happened and we have taken all of the necessary steps to make sure that it does not happen in the future.

Thank you for your response and thank you for sending me the pictures. Having the ability to review the pictures is a tremendous help to me. I have now had the opportunity to review the pictures, both of your letters, and discuss the situation with my general manger.

To that end, I feel I have a much better grasp of the situation and I have been able to come to a few informed conclusions and put together what I feel is an amicable solution.

Upon reviewing the pictures I was able to tell that the bottom railings of the fence were weathered and beginning to rot prior to us starting the project. I spoke with John (the red head) and he confirmed this was true and that is why he did not return them to their original location for he felt they needed to be replaced.

However, this is unacceptable on our part for it should have been our responsibility to inform you and offer to replace the few that we had to remove.

It also appears that in the original pictures that some slats on the fence were weathered and beginning to show signs of needing to be replaced. The top cap of the fence was not "flush" in some areas prior to us beginning the project. As for the fresh cracks in the wood, is natural for older wood to crack.

Whether or not that was caused by our crew is a debatable issue but I feel we can agree that it is natural for wood to crack as it is exposed to the elements at all times.

With all of that being said, I do feel we need to take some of the responsibility for a portion of the damaged area. I am truly sorry for the damage that was done. I am very sorry that we entered your yard without your consent for that should not have happened. I am hopeful that you can accept my apology and please understand that is our intention to show our clients and their neighbors respect at all times. Again, I am sorry this did not happen in this case.

Honestly, the only reason we "attempted" to replace the posts was that the fence was already failing and falling down according to my general manager, my job site supervisor, and the homeowner that we were working with at the time. I truly wish that we could have taken care of it properly.

It is unfortunate that I was unable to take part in verbal the estimates you received to repair the damage. I feel that would have been a fair opportunity for us to rectify the situation. I truly would have wanted to review the jobsite and the work request prior to it being completed. I also wish that more than one written estimate was given.

It seems the invoice is high for the work that was completed. However, that is now in the past and we have to work within the confines of the current situation and I want to be fair.

I feel we should compensate you for 50% of the invoice. I do not feel we should have to pay for the entire invoice for the fence was showing signs of wear and tear prior to us beginning the project. We did not work on all 31 feet and much of the damage where we worked was already damaged and weathered. In working on the two posts we affected 8 linear feet of fencing with the possibility 4 more feet on either side of our work making it a total of 16 linear feet possibly damaged. Again, I am sorry we entered your yard and I am sorry for the damaged we caused.

To that end, I am willing to pay $680.00. I am going to send you a release form and upon receiving a signed copy of the release I will send you a check for $680.00.
Comments:5 Replies - Latest reply on 2011-01-14
Posted by Treena on 2011-01-09:
Yes, we did accept Matt Hampton's offer to cover half of our costs because of his responsiveness. But, again, he did not say what would be done to prevent his crew from ever again trespassing and doing unauthorized work.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2011-01-09:
Seems as if they did the right thing. Other than that, most cities have a body that govern contractors, that is where you should make your complaint.
Posted by Treena on 2011-01-11:
We did contact the California contractors state license board & were told we could not file a complaint since we were not the ones who hired Certapro. They came on our property without our permission, lied to us about what would be done to rectify the situation and deliberately didn't give us the name of the company nor a phone number.
Posted by jktshff1 on 2011-01-11:
Were the police ever called?
Posted by Treena on 2011-01-14:
When it became clear the following week that they weren't returning as the site supervisor assured us, we looked into pressing charges. Unfortunately, we were told that we needed to call the police while Certapro was in the midst of violating the law (trespassing & damaging our yard). At that point, it would have been easy to file a police report.

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