June 15, 2017 09:51 PM
‘Tis the season for home improvement. But one Greece grandmother says her home improvement project didn't improve her home at all. She paid $3,700. A year and a half later, it’s covered in cracks, so for her consumer complaint, she Dialed Deanna and we started digging.
Regina Summers is a woman who plans ahead. She has lived in lovely one-story Greece home for more than 30 years. But at 85-years old, she knows the day will soon come when she will have to sell her home and move into a more manageable one. She didn’t want to her children to be burdened with making needed repairs before putting it on the market, so she decided to hire someone herself to repair her bricked chimney.
“It looked bad, really bad,” said Summers.
She said she found an ad in the Greece Post for Rochester Masonry and Stamp. Summers said the owner, Louis Piccirillo, told her he could cover the brick with a masonry product for far less than the cost of re-bricking the chimney. But a month later, it started to crack. It’s now been a year and a half and tiny cracks splinter across the chimney.
“I would hate to have someone else go through with what I did with him and spend that amount of money and come out with this mess," said Summers.
Her son, Tom Kosmicki, says he called the contractor before starting the work.
"I thought I was asking the right questions. I said, ‘What's your guarantee on cracking?’ He said, ‘Twenty years.’ So I said, ‘Put it in writing.’"
And Kosmicki said Piccirillo did just that. He wrote and signed the guarantee on a document titled “proposal.”
Summers and Komicki say it’s the only document the contractor gave them and the state attorney general's office says if that's the case, that's a problem. State law mandates that customers be given a written contract that includes the contractor's name, phone number, address, the schedule of completion, the payment schedule, and the list of materials used.
News10NBC Consumer Investigator Deanna Dewberry called Louis Piccirillo. We asked whether he was aware that New York General Business Law Section 771 requires that contractors give customers a contract if the work is for more than $500.
Piccirillo said he is aware of the law, but doesn't remember if he provided a contract and he denied giving them Summers a warranty. When we informed Piccirillo that we had a copy of the proposal and it stated there was a 20-year warranty against cracks, he refused to answer the question. He also refused to answer questions about his F rating with the Better Business Bureau. The site also lists a number of business names that Piccarillo has used including Full Masonry Services, Upstate Masonry and Stamp and JAS Development.
On the site, customers have left a number of complaints, some of which are similar to Summers.
As for Summers and her son, they’d like to be former customers. "Give us a refund, and we'll get someone who knows what they're doing and they're going to be on site,” said Kosmicki.
Louis Piccirillo told News10NBC he would fix the chimney at no charge, but Summers says he promised that before and didn't show up. Now she just wants her money back.
Before you hire a contractor, here's Deanna's Do List.
1. Get at least 3 bids.
2. Do a background check, like checking the Better Business Bureau.
3. Ask for proof of insurance.
4. Get a written contract. The Better Contractors Bureau has provided an example of what it should look like.
5. Never pay full price up front. The BBB suggests pay a third up front, a third in the middle, and a third at completion.
6. Report problems to the BBB, the Attorney General’s Office or the Better Contractors Bureau.
Updated: June 15, 2017 09:51 PM
Created: June 07, 2017 08:00 PM
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