Sunday, June 5, 2016

Never Do Business with Power Home Remodeling Group (and other advice)



Home improvement scams
By 160 Over 90 (Power home Remodeling) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

First, if a person from Power Home Remodeling Group shows up at your door and offers you a free estimate on home repair work, tell him to leave and shut the door. If he doesn't leave, call the police or take other appropriate action. If you already have a free estimate scheduled, cancel it and tell them to never contact you again. If they approach you in BJ'S Wholesale Club (which has some sort of relationship with the company) ignore them. Run, do not walk, away.

Why? That's a longer story. A few weeks ago, I was at my house when someone knocked on the door. He was working for Power Home, said they were in the area doing home improvement work for a neighbor, and that they were offering free estimates. I bought my house from a bank after the bank foreclosed on the last owner and while it wasn't in horrible condition, I have done work on it over the years. I have two friends who have helped me with various projects, but they are often busy with other jobs. So, I thought, sure give me a free estimate. I do need to replace the front bay window. I didn't know the age or condition of the roof and the siding is very old. I asked for an estimate on those things. We scheduled a later appointment, he took my name and contact information, and left. He seemed like a nice enough guy, so I thought, there was no harm in hearing what they had to say.

On the day of the appointment, I waited and waited, but no one showed up. It was annoying. But I wrote it off as not a big deal. I would get someone else to do the work. Later they called me on my phone at work and scheduled another appointment. This time, they called me back on my work number to confirm the appointment. (I have since found out that they don't show unless they get a confirmation and I never got their call before because I use Google Voice on my cell phone and Google actually blocked their number as spam.)

Last Friday afternoon, a young guy showed up at my house to do the estimate. At first he was very nice and professional, but he kept asking me a lot of personal questions, like he was or wanted to be my friend. He asked me at least twice what I was doing this weekend and I mentioned maybe going downtown to the bars and/or to the yearly Greek Festival to drink some Greek beer. We chatted a bit and I assumed it was all harmless. He then went into his sales pitch where he showed me on his Ipad a Powerpoint like presentation about how great his company was. I rushed him through this, or at least tried. I wasn't really interested in how great they were. I wanted a quote and then I would do research and get another estimate. This is what every homeowner should do.

So then he started looking at my window, siding, and roof. Long story short, everything was a complete disaster. My roof was, according to him, only one storm away from failing. He said to me something like “I don't care if you hire us or not, but someone needs to repair that roof.” That statement shortly then turned out to be a complete lie.

I was able to eventually get this guy to talk about pricing and he was running all sorts of numbers on his Ipad and Iphone and quickly showing me what he said would be industry pricing to do the work. (Oddly, he asked to use my Wifi at this time, because he said he wasn't getting good reception. I am going to have to change my password now it and update all my devices, which is going to be a pain.) He never left me a copy of what he wrote down on that paper, but did write, at my request, the cost for the roof and window on his business card. I guess this is what passes for as an estimate. $15,500 for the roof, $8,100 for the bow window, and about $22,000 for the siding. And it was urgent that they do the work, really really urgent.

Power Home Remodeling Scam
The most unprofessional estimate I have ever received.

Needless to say, I was not happy about the prospect of having to pay over $40,000 for repairs on my home. At this point, I have to admit that I was believing him. But I just don't have $40,000 sitting around and I am not the type of person to spend that much money without doing my homework. Think of me what you will, but I am not a complete idiot! There was no way that I was going to agree to that without doing more research.

I told the guy that I would have to talk to my bank about a refi. I would get the benefit of a lower rate and could take out extra cash. “Well, how soon can you talk to them?” He asked. You could hear the worry in his voice. It was after 5pm on a Friday, so the bank was closed, I pointed out. It would have to wait until at least Monday, I said.

For a moment, he looked dejected, but then quickly turned to his “today only” deal. He also gave me how much it would cost per month (although I don't think he listed the number of months), if I used their financing. In addition, I didn't have to come up with any money that day and would have time (I don't remember the exact amount), to go to my bank and come up with the money. The prices were much less, about $30,000 total, so a “savings” of over $10,000, but only if I signed that day. I asked him to break down each project. I don't remember the exact prices, but it was about $10,000 for the roof.

He really turned up the pressure on me. But what he didn't know is that while we were talking, I was researching it on my phone and found out that to the average price to replace a roof my size (less than 1200 sqft) is between $4100 and $6000. (A neighbor informed me yesterday he had his replaced last year, it was about the same size as mine, and paid $5500). I was also texting my friend who works on my house who was texting me back telling me to sign nothing and to get this guy out of my house.

This whole thing went on for a while, well over 2 hours. He was playing mind games, or at least trying. He would say things like, “Sure, I want to make a sale, but I am also a human being. I can't leave your house like this.” He would not take no for an answer. And when it got to the point that it was obvious that I was not going to sign, he turned into a complete dick. I had to ask him to leave, at least twice, and thought I was going to have to call 911 or even, if necessary, get my gun. Thankfully, it didn't come to that. At the front porch, you could see the anger in his face, and he yelled to me something like, “You don't care about your house. You just care about going out and drinking beer tonight.” See how he used what I told him earlier about going to the Greek Festival against me? He was also trying to shame me in front of the neighbors. Didn't work. It did make me wonder if he was also lying when he said he was a human being.

Later my friend, who also happens to have a degree in engineering and who also builds houses, came over and looked at my roof. He said it had a few years left in it and then we went out drinking. My neighbor also told me that the last owners replaced the roof in 1999 and they typically last 20 years.

Regarding my experience with the company, I assumed that I just had a bad salesman. But then I started to research the company. Now I know why he was so desperate to get me to sign that day and got upset when I said I wanted to do research online first.

The Power Home Remodeling Group claims an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau and I'm sure that convinces many people that they are okay. But what many, especially older, people don't understand is that the BBB grade isn't worth much. It is an increasingly irrelevant organization. The best source for information about a company is probably Yelp.com, where they do a good job weeding out fake reviews.

The Power Home Remodeling is based in Chester, PA, but according to their website they operate in Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Virginia, Washington D.C. and Wisconsin. There are Yelp pages for many of these offices.

The Maryland office of Power Home has a Yelp Score of 1 Star, the lowest possible. What they did to me was not an isolated incident. Here are some of the highlights from the Review page:

We have about. 2500 sqft roof, the estimator was suggesting a $30k to $40k job.... Absolutely insane.... I guess they work on commission, but with a full removal, materials (architectural shingles) and install, and accounting for the markup in Arlington, a very high end estimate shouldn't be over $15k.

These guys use high pressure scare tactics to bully people into paying wayyy toooo much. Buyer beware please and do your homework!

Another person wrote:

I like how they have the gall to get on here and refute my review. For anyone who's further interested in their lies, I've posted a pic of the contracted amount with personal info blanked out. You can find this on my profile. They also want to refute hole size. They don't seem to understand, he showed me pictures of significant damage with large holes, I don't need a ruler to measure them, because THERE ARE NO HOLES IN MY ROOF. He fraudulently showed us pictures of someone else's roof and said he just took them. You can call them whatever size you want swindler, it's irrelevant considering there are no holes in my attic at all. That's what your company is about. The HIGH cost of replacing a roof is considered $13,000. They're crooks, protect your friends and family from these depraved sleazy salesmen.

You probably have the point by now, but I just want to post one more review from the Maryland site:

This company tried to swindle my 74 year old father. I came home at the end of the salesman's 4 hour speech. He convinced my dad that our roof has severe damage and could break through if you walked on it. He explained how it has severe water damage and showed us pictures of huge wet patches and holes in the plywood from the attic. After hearing the $28,000 price tag I told my dad to rethink and get some other quotes even though he had already signed up. I checked the attic for myself and guess what, no holes and almost no water damage in sight. He correctly assumed my dad was too feeble to climb up there himself. Too bad I wasn't. He had showed us someone else's pictures to convince us. They're liars and cheaters. After my dad canceled they called and came back to offer a better deal, $8000 for almost the same service. Really? Wow, all of sudden they can do the work for so much less. They also tried to sell gutters for $4000. Were they made out of gold? Nope, aluminum. Maybe they personally make them out of soda cans or something, because $4000 is laughable. They're crooks and I see plenty of poor reviews for their actual work. Best look elsewhere before you get ripped off.

And the reviews on the other Yelp pages are just as bad. For example,in their hometown of Chester, PA, they somehow managed to set an average 2.5 out of 5 star Yelp rating.

One person wrote:
Simply one of the worst companies I have come across when dealing with remodeling companies. They use basic pressure tactics, employ people who have either no experience or very little in actual trades/remodeling who aren't qualified to give legit estimates let alone act as a building inspector, and then are very aggressive the entire process once you engage with them including during the sales quote.

The most hilarious part was when one of their sales reps tried to tell my uncle (who has done general residential contracting for more than 35 years) and one of his partners who is a licensed building inspector they had no idea what they were talking about including questioning their price estimates for the materials and time quoted for a basic roof repair. Their interest rates for financing were also lousy when compared to standard line of credits from a bank or credit union too.  

A general building contractor should NEVER pressure anyone during the sales or estimate process, stick to only what the client wants done or expressed a wish to get an estimate on, and give them things they request including other customer references without a hassle.

It wasn't just me. These people are up to no good. I suspect that their main prey is the elderly. They might be sitting at home all day and bored. A nice young man who is well groomed, well spoken, and who seems like a real go-getter, shows up and gives them a great sales pitch. And then he scares the hell out of them and gets them thinking their house is falling apart. This is really sleazy. They are convincing and pressuring people to pay for things they don't need and are charging them ridiculous prices.

Please be careful when dealing with anyone offering an estimate for home repair. While most people in the field are honest, there are plenty of frauds. Make sure your friends and family, especially elderly friends and relatives, are aware of this company and these types of tactics. Never agree to anything on the spot. Always get a second estimate, at least. AND NEVER NEVER NEVER DO BUSINESS WITH POWER HOME REMODLING GROUP!!!

Also, please share this post with your friends and family. They will appreciate it. I don't want to see anyone lose their money to these people.

Also, to the guy who stopped by my house, you left one of your gloves on my back porch. I don't know if it was a mistake or part of an elaborate plan to get back into my house under the guise of getting your glove to continue a sales pitch. Either way, it is sitting on my front lawn under my mailbox. You can get it, but get one inch closer to my house and we are going to have a problem. You better get it before it blows away.

Related external links:
Hackettstown Life forum posts on Power Home
Complaints Board
Scam Book
RipoffReport

5 comments:

William Cooke said...

Power Home Remodeling responded to this post via Tweet and asked me to send them a direct message so that they could help. Sorry, no deal. I'm done with you guys. The company reads and responds to many of the negative comments on Yelp and other forums and always expresses surprise and concern about the tactics about their salespeople. I don't buy it. This guy had too slick of a presentation and did what was consistent in all of the reviews for me to believe that these are just isolated incidences by rogue salesmen. Give me a break. I'm not interested in helping you to do better, because you aren't interested. I'm interested in warning people about what your salesmen do.

I am not going to have a salesman come into my house, waste over 2 hours of my time, try to pressure me into giving you $30,000 - $40,000 without seeking a second opinion, and then laugh at me and insult me as he is leaving.

The management knows what is going on and I don't believe that they care. They benefit from it. I don't think they should. That is why I wrote this post.

Richard C. Lambert said...

Mangum moved into the on-campus President’s House back in 2014 after the university made extensive renovations to the two-story home.

Jade Graham said...

It's better to hire a company that has the proper training, heating and cooling

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