I am hoping this doesn't fall into off-topic territory. If it does, I'll just have to find another website to ask it on.

I am the president of an HOA and one of our unit owners is experiencing water leaks due to a potentially bad roof install last year. I originally reported the problem in 12/16. They've come out once and blamed the leak on "ice damming" which they do not cover in the contract. I had someone else take a look at pictures of the install who added captions to the photos explaining how the install was potentially bad. I forwarded these pics to the project manager who told me he'd return my call after he reviewed them. He didn't call back in two days. After lots of complaining, I finally got a call back from one of the co-owners on 12/19 who left a message on my VM. I returned his call a few hours later and he didn't return my call at all. I had to call him back on 12/26 where he told me he and his team would be out on 12/27 or 12/30. He never called. I called him on 12/31 and again today where I'm still waiting for his call.

  • What do you do when a company is very leisurely about returning your calls or even not at all?
  • What do you do when they say the problem is not their fault?
  • If there's the potential for leaking to occur and they're not owning up, how do you go about fixing the problem in the meantime? Do you just needlessly spent more money to have another company come out and fix it? Is there a way to prove that they're accountable for the bad install?

I know that SE deals in objective problems only (usually, at least), but there's simply no other trustworthy Q&A site out there, so I am hoping I can get this one answered here. Thanks.

  • My parents went through something like this with a liquid siding company that offered a lifetime guarantee. The product and installation were great. However, a few panels did start to rot. When my parents tried to collect on the guarantee, the business owner continuously dodged their calls or agreed to come fix the problem only not to show for over a year. Eventually, my parents had to foot the bill and do the repairs themselves. Hopefully your situation turns out better. – crush Jan 2 '14 at 18:10
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about "legal questions, including contracts with builders, contractor negotiation, and rental agreements." – BMitch Jan 3 '14 at 2:00

I'm almost certainly in a different country form you so my answer may not apply - but you may have some equivalent options

I would write to them

  • stating the problem clearly,
  • listing the attempts made to get a response from them (with dates)
  • and saying that time is of the essence (legal phrase in my jurisdiction)
  • saying that if they don't contact me within n days to resolve the problem I see no option other than to get legal advice on what steps to take. (n needs to be a reasonable amount, perhaps 14 days rather than 2)

I would send this by registered-post or recorded-delivery. It makes more impact if someone has to sign for it.

Keep a copy of what you have sent. Copies of written communication may carry greater weight later than your transcript of what you think you said in a phone call.

In my locale there is a trading-standards body to whom consumers can complain about shoddy work or goods. I'd check if they could help.

In my locale there is a small-claims court which can be used for low-cost proceedings there is a limit on the size of claims, hearings are heard in front of a judge and court-fees are low. I would check whether this service is available and what limits apply

Getting a lawyer to write a short letter to a company may help, even if the letter is relatively innocuous it can help persuade them that you are unlikely to go away quietly.

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    That's what my parents did in a similar situation -- they had their attorney draw up a letter telling the contractor that they had 10 days to address the issue or they'd hire another contractor to fix it and sue to recover the costs of the repair, the original contractor didn't respond. They documented the faulty work as the new contractor fixed it and sued in small claims court. The original contractor ended up paying for the repairs before their court date. – Johnny Jan 2 '14 at 19:44
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    Depending on locale, the trading standards body can be VERY effective. A firm I worked for jumped over backwards to satisfy a complaint just to avoid further action from the body in our jurisdiction. And in this case the complainant had greatly exaggerated the issue. Involving lawyers can be beneficial, but can also result in the lawyers being the only ones satisfied with the results. – bcworkz Jan 3 '14 at 2:21

Definitely write a letter. In my experience, letters get the word across much more seriously than a phone call or email. Put them on notice. Use professional letterhead and let them know you're serious. I'd also give them a timeframe to respond to your letter. If you have a friend or acquaintance that's a lawyer, see if they'll send it from your behalf on letterhead - that would definitely get their attention. Of course, nobody wants to deal with lawyers!

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