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This Senior Paid Upfront for a Wheelchair Ramp, and Now He's Facing an Uphill Battle to Get It Completed.

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One of Dales's most common pieces of advice is this: never pay upfront. For some jobs, you may need to put some money down. But never pay 100% upfront. This is especially true for construction jobs. Once the contractor has your money, they really have no motivation to work hard for you. They hold all the cards, and you are at their mercy. That's what one consumer found out when he paid upfront for a wheelchair ramp to his home.

A Shoddy Job

Kerry has his hands full caring for his wife, who has ALS. She uses a wheelchair, and getting her in and out of the house was becoming difficult. So Kerry did his research and contacted a contractor who specializes in home adaptations for aging in place. He hired the contractor to build a ramp from his front door to the sidewalk so he could more easily maneuver his wife's wheelchair to the street.

At first, it seemed like everything was going well. The contractor asked for payment upfront, which Kerry provided. Then he sent out a subcontractor to build the ramp. The subcontractor built the top part of the ramp out of decking material. The bottom part was supposed to be made out of concrete to match the sidewalk. However, that's not what Kerry got.

Instead of smooth concrete, the subcontractor poured black asphalt. Not only did the asphalt not match the sidewalk, but it was also bumpy and uncomfortable to roll over in a wheelchair.

Kerry contacted his general contractor to complain and see if he could come back out, remove the asphalt, and replace it with the agreed-upon concrete. The contractor said he would take care of it, but every time the subcontractor was scheduled to come back, he would miss the appointment. After a while, it looked like the contractor was not going to make good on his promise, so Kerry contacted TrustDALE.

A Partial Resolution

After Kerry contacted us at TrustDALE, we reached out to his contractor to determine what was going on. At first, the contractor had all kinds of excuses. He told us that he couldn't control the subcontractor and that if he got a better job to work on, he would do that first. But we pressed the general contractor. We pointed out that he, not the subcontractor, was in charge of this job. As the general contractor, it was his responsibility to act as a project manager and make sure that his subcontractors performed the work as necessary. After that, the contractor changed his story. He said that he wasn't going to say anything to Kerry, but his subcontractor was, in fact, planning to come out that Friday to do the repairs. Coincidence? We think not.

It seemed like everything would be resolved. The subcontractor showed up on Friday and did the work. But when we went by Kerry's home to take a look, we were more than a little surprised. The subcontractor had made some repairs, but the ramp was still made out of asphalt, not concrete, as originally promised.

A Great Offer and Some Great Advice

Luckily, TrustDALE has built a community of trust. One of our partners and community members, Renato Alvarez of Pro Painting & Remodeling, heard about what Kerry was going through and offered to send his workers out to make the repairs for free.

When we told Kerry about Renato's offer, he thanked us but told us that he was already happy with the new asphalt. However, we'll have to wait and see what Kerry's wife thinks. If they decide to move to concrete, Rento's offer is still good.

According to Renato, you should always "put down no more than 30% for the purchase of your materials, and the rest when they've completed the work." We think that's excellent advice, and we are proud to have great partners in our community of trust. 

If you need to find a professional to remodel your home, build an addition, or perform just about any other home service, search first on TrustDALE.com, where you can benefit from the TrustDALE circle of excellence. And, as always, every TrustDALE certified business is backed by Dale's $10,000 trademark Make-It-Right™ Guarantee.