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Contractor issue
Old 12-17-2009, 09:39 AM   #1
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Contractor issue

Well, it happened. As our remodeling project comes to a close, we have a problem.

The new kitchen hood has a scratch. The hood – picture here Product Detail is stainless steel. The scratch looks like a check mark and the long edge is about 1” long. It looks like something was dropped on it (like a heavy screw). Worse, there are buff marks around it, as if someone tried to buff it out, only the result is worse – now it looks like a hand smudge around the scratch. DW saw it yesterday, called the contractor. He will stop by today but insisted on the phone that this was caused by us.

We have done well so far with this contractor – they make an effort to solve problems. I can imagine how the scratch occurred, as the contractor was working on the ceiling (speakers) last week. Not directly above, but in the vecinity. The scratch is almost 6 ˝ feet above the floor – clearly out of range of casual or daily use.

DW wants the hood repaired or replaced. I foresee a tough discussion ahead. Anyone see other options or suggestions on how to deal with this?
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:46 AM   #2
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Assuming that you didn't write the contractor his final check before signing off on the work....or did you? If he is still waiting for the final check you have some power, but if he has been fully paid you're pretty much at his mercy. Like a lot of people, after getting screwed a couple of times in the past I realized that the only time you have any real power over these folks is when they haven't gotten all of their money.

So, if you're still hanging on to that last check I would say the same things you just wrote in your post. How it appears quite likely that the guy installing the speakers had an oops moment, or someone in the installation or even delivery process had such an accident. But it's very unlikely that you climbed on a ladder to screw up your vent hood. Be insistent, be strong, but don't release the money until he listens to reason and you guys work out something that everyone can live with.

As for replacement, depending on what relationship he has with his supplier, he won't want to do that. It could cost him beaucoup dollars if he has to eat the cost. Replacing won't be too high on his list of want-to's anyway, because he has to pay a sub to do all the work of taking out the old hood and installing the new one. Even if he gets a replacement at no cost, he's eating away at profit on labor alone.

If there is a way to fix it well enough that you can live with it, and you get a reasonable partial refund on the project cost, you might be able to live with that. DW may not however, and since you have to live with her you might have to try and negotiate a multi-party deal here.

Ultimately, if she won't relent, you're going to have to stand firm. If it really is the fault of a sub then it's the contractor's problem to deal with. You paid for a new hood installed professionally, and while mistakes happen, that's for the contractor to deal with.

Of course the contractor may stand firm as well. Such things make up small claims court dockets.

Edit to add: I wanted to include a reminder that just because he's being sticky about it at first may not mean he's a bad guy. A lot of customers try to pull fast ones on their contractors and if he's been screwed in the past he may have long ago decided to be hard to convince when it comes to such things.

You have to weigh the reasonableness of what you're asking for, the reasonableness of any pushback he's giving you, and be sure how far you're willing to go with your demands for sastisfaction.

When we built our house years ago there was some disconnect in the work being done because the original construction superintendent quit the builder about 3/4 of the way through the project. Another superintendent got stuck with the completion, and I think he looked on it as more of an imposition than he did as an opportunity to shine.

Leading up to the final walkthrough we had some problems in that he just wasn't taking care of the defects - neither the minor issues or a few major things. I stood firm and he eventually fixed most of the minor stuff, but the major things were still all screwed up. He made the mistake of holding firm too long, and then tried to verbally and physically intimidate me. Bad move on his part.

I was pulling my car keys out of my pocket and handing them to my wife, and the words "Honey, you need to go sit in the car" were forming on my lips as I was calculating how hard I needed to bounce the guy's head on the tiled kitchen floor.

As I was getting ready to "negotiate" with the guy, I looked past him and out the kitchen door to see that it had started to rain, and a puddle was forming in the middle of the concrete patio. I forgot about kicking his butt for a second and pointed to the puddle and said, "And look at that, what are you going to do about the screwed up pour on the concrete?" It was the straw that broke the camel's back. His puffed out chest sank inwards, his shoulders hunched down, and he said, "Okay, we'll fix everything on your list."
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:50 AM   #3
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I agree with Leonidas.

But if you HAVE paid him, and can't get anywhere with him, then I would ask him to replace it even if you have to pay for it because it sounds to me like you will never be happy with it as is. Maybe he would agree to split the cost.
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Old 12-17-2009, 10:00 AM   #4
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Even if you have paid him, he has a lot more to lose than you do by not resolving it. You might end up paying to have the hood replaced (by someone else); he will lose his good reputation and possible leads when people ask you who did the work and would you recommend them.

So if he is a good businessman, maybe he will try to make you happy.
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:10 AM   #5
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First, is it possible that someone else did it -- such as a subcontractor?

Second, are you positive the scratch wasn't there before, and you didn't notice it?

Third, are the buff marks incontrovertible?
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:23 AM   #6
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Perhaps you can figure out a way to work the good cop/bad cop routine here. Your DW probably feels stronger about this than you do and is probably better equipped to make her feelings known than you. Somebody, tho, needs to portray the reasonable one both here and in the future when warranty issues may arise.

Sounds like from what you have said that the contractor is reasonable and may be willing to listen and understand that this can be a win-win or a lose-lose situation depending on his move. Good luck!
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Old 12-17-2009, 02:05 PM   #7
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If nobody saw the hood in "perfect" condition ... box it up and return it the supplier. Amazing what I've seen damaged right out of the box. Many times the shipping box has no damage ... clearly an effort to deceive.
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Old 12-17-2009, 03:05 PM   #8
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Thanks for the responses.

The hood was installed a few days before Thanksgiving, blemish free. It was cleaned three times – before and after Thanksgiving, then yesterday. DW became aware of the blemish yesterday.

The contract is mostly paid, with a small balance. Not enough to pay for the hood, but enough for them to take notice.

For the kitchen there was one general contractor and two sub-contractors, one granite and one all else.

DW is certain both the scratch and the buff marks are a week old and date to when ceiling work was being performed.

The sub-contractor just came by. His team is very good, excellent work ethic and skilled. They’ve been working together (general with sub and the men) for many years and concerned about our satisfaction. He stopped by a few minutes ago, inspected and feels the buff marks are not only not his but not something anyone on his team would do (he has a point there). He insists that when his workers make mistakes they and he own up, not trying to hide them. He ventures no guess for the scratch but feels the buff marks may be someone DW brought in to clean (and DW refuses to consider as the cause).

I’m stuck. There is no way to determine the cause of either the scratch or the buff marks. I asked the sub-contractor to find a solution to repair scratched stainless. We will try this. Just taking out the buff marks would make a big difference. If not, I’m still not sure what to do – perhaps ask them to install a new hood without charge.
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Old 12-17-2009, 08:24 PM   #9
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As long as the buff marks are not deep you can get them out of brushed stainless steel by buffing more marks into the surface. Of course the direction and abrasive need to be selected before hand. If it gets buffed to deep there will be a long term change in luster.

There are stainless steal repair kits on the net that should fill the scratch but I have never used them and do not know how well it would buff out.

With out seeing one of the hoods I don’t know how fine the brush is on it but I’m sure it’s close to all the other kitchen appliances. Steel wool in the 000 range should be about right.


Some manufactures put a sealer on the metal. If so this will bring up a whole new issue when it comes to trying to fix the finish.

I don’t know a Broan rep and can’t find a connection with one from my office.
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasgotfire View Post
As long as the buff marks are not deep you can get them out of brushed stainless steel by buffing more marks into the surface. Of course the direction and abrasive need to be selected before hand.
I have a Broan hood that I installed myself and I handle it with kid gloves because it will scratch just looking at it.

There is a definite grain run in mine and have my doubts about buffing it out. Having said that if someone has to "eat it," it is worth a shot at buffing it out. Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 12-18-2009, 09:56 AM   #11
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I have a Broan hood that I installed myself and I handle it with kid gloves because it will scratch just looking at it.

There is a definite grain run in mine and have my doubts about buffing it out. Having said that if someone has to "eat it," it is worth a shot at buffing it out. Let us know how it turns out.
I had not dealt with the company at my last job and no one at this office has a rep contact for them.

If there that fragile then I’ll surly keep away from them.
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Old 12-18-2009, 12:08 PM   #12
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I had a similar issue with a scratch on the door of a SS dishwasher and I first tired my own buffing, wrong move. Looked terrible.

I hired a professional and had I no idea it was ever scratched, I could not have found the repair.

Maybe ask the contractor to buff it for free.
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