2020-10-31

Home builder makes life miserable

There is this house builder that made our lives miserable. So you can understand how this company operates, here’s a brief summary of what they did to us:

1. They quoted a reasonable price to build our home. The contract got
signed. It was cleverly worded and only someone with a knowledge of
the building industry or a law degree would pick up all the clauses which
are worded to leave anyone open to heaps of extra charges later.
2. Shortly after they started building, we received “Variations.” They came in
thick and fast and were for things we expected to be included in the
price – like stormwater, traffic control for concrete pours, etc. But we
could not argue with them. They threatened us with litigation and stop
work on the building. They reduced amounts “in good faith” but at the end
they still charged us the full amount anyway and there’s nothing we could
do about it.
3. When the home was almost finished, they sent us their final bill. This
included charges for things that the builder promised would be credited.
They reneged on every negotiated reduced amount that was promised in
writing and we ended up paying the higher amount regardless of
promised reductions and credits. We tried to argue but they slapped us
with a Statement of Claim. In the end, we had to shell out an additional
$50,000 on top of the amount in the contract.
4. We thought we had some recourse through Dept. of Fair Trading or the
Consumer Tribunal (CTTT). WRONG. This builder is so well practised at
this game. They have an airtight Contract that CTTT can’t argue. Their
seasoned representative argued that the matter is a building claim
which meant that CTTT can’t hear it because they are not allowed to – or
that the fact we have already paid what they demanded is equivalent to
“accord and satisfaction.” This is what happened to us. We paid up
because we were desperate to get the house finished, and signed an
agreement, which HAD TO BE WORDED by the builder – that they
would complete everything in return. We paid up, they walked away and
only turned up to finish off things when they felt like it – which took
MONTHS.
5. The CTTT threw out our case because of the Contract and the fact we
signed an Agreement, which the builder breached but that didn’t seem to
matter.
6. I wrote to a radio station but later received a letter from a law firm
threatening to sue me for defamation unless I retract what I wrote and
withdraw comments I made to the Product Review Website. I was also
asked to send a letter of apology to the builder. It felt like Hitler asking the
Jews to apologize.

Those interested may visit the website: (www.productreview.com.au)
? Name withheld upon request