This week's story is an unfortunate one, and I'm sad to say, it is one of several similar unfortunate stories surrounding the renovation of our beach home. Now that the exterior of the house was almost complete, it was time to install the gutters. I wanted the high end round gutters, that not everyone installs, so it took me some time to find a “reputable” installer. This all took place about a year or so ago, it’s one of those necessary but unglamorous tasks that you just want to get done and over with asap. The gutters went in without any major problems. There were a few small installation hiccups, but they were quickly fixed and the job was completed. The cost was around $1200 and oddly we were charged in installments—$150 first payment, $300 the second - in little bites. With everything else clouding my mind, it didn’t register that this was a an usual way to bill this particular job. Fast forward to September….
The front of the house did not have a gutter previously
Everything seemed fine, or so I thought…. until, I checked my September credit card bill, there was a gutter charge! When I investigated further I found 5 more charges, all different small increments, sprinkled through different months between March (when the job was finished) through September. I was pretty sure that these charges were exceeding the total stated amount for the gutters and when I double-checked it against my records I was correct. The gutter man was charging me fraudulently for work that hadn't been done. OUCH! Fraud! I was shocked, needless to say and angry as well.
We had the gutters follow the white trim of the house so they would disappear.
And to be clear, I did my homework! This gutter company came highly rated on Angie's list and by the Better Business Bureau. I ended up paying over $4000 in bogus charges. When I brought it to their attention, they did make it right and paid me back, but this was still an annoying and costly lesson. And what if I didn’t find that September charge…
Gutters before and after - bottom photo are the new sleeker gutters
Listen Up Lessons of the Week:
1. Don't give your credit card number to anyone. Your mother was right about this one.
2. You really can't trust anyone. Even in a small town. No one.
3. Keep excellent records, both a cyber and paper trail, so when you do come across an untrustworthy person (and you will), you have recourse.