Saturday, October 24, 2015

Are You a Victim of Contract Fraud?

From the Complaints page:

I'm adding this "positive" review because it identifies a problem I will be discussing soon:
Alicia P.   New York, NY   1/23/2013
Very happy with the look.  Looks very sharp in our apartment. We got 2 closet doors to match 2 walls with the door dividers panels.  They work very well and the service was good.  One section came loose on the ceiling, because they are attached at the ceiling, and they came over and fixed it.
 I'm pretty sure nobody wants their sliding door system coming loose at the ceiling.  And, how, exactly, does something installed into studs come loose?  The simple answer is, it wasn't installed properly.  I'll explain:

The Sliding Door Company uses top tracks that must be installed into a "header".  This means they must go into solid wood (not drywall).  They clearly state this on their website.  Here's a picture of what they say it should look like:

This is a picture of what TSDC says they are going to do.  Notice the screw at the top is going into solid wood.

(BTW, also notice how the top and bottom of the door don't line up?  In a future blog we will discuss
how every door The Sliding Door Company installs MUST be installed crooked - it's part of the design.

Their picture is not exactly right, but it demonstrates their intent.  The picture above is missing the "drywall" or "gypsum board" ceiling that goes between the bracket and the wood stud.  Here's what is actually going on:

See the big gaps between the studs (the wood pieces with an X in them)?
The studs are typically 16" apart.  This means the installer has to
hit a 2" (or 1-1/2") wide piece of wood in a 32" target area -
EVERY SINGLE TIME in order to comply with the signed CONTRACT. 
So, the intent is to install their tracks into solid material ("header/blocking").  And that's what they're supposed to do - ACCORDING TO THE CONTRACT they have each of their customers sign.  In other words, they enter a binding contract that says they will fasten their systems into WOOD studs!  

So, why did Alicia P (above) need to have them fix a section that "came loose on the ceiling"?  Did the screws just unscrew themselves?  Or were they never properly installed into wood?  How would Alicia P know?  You can't see where the wood studs are when you look at the ceiling.

To get a good feel for what's happening here, we need to look at this from the viewpoint of the "installer".  The installer can't see where the studs are either.  In order to install the system, the installer must "find" each stud and screw into it.  There are tools ("stud finders") for this, but TSDC's installers aren't provided with these.

Nonetheless, it is the installer's responsibility to make the system work.  Keeping in mind that it is TSDC's CONTRACT they are installing to - a contract between TSDC and their customer, the installer is expected to install the system in accordance with that contract without having the proper tool to find the studs.  And, of course, there are other orders waiting to be installed.  The installer's only choice sometimes is to improperly install the system by guessing at where the studs might be.  What happens when they can't find the studs?  As Alicia P pointed out, entire sections of track can come loose.  An installer once told me that it's a good installation if he can hit the studs twice per track.

So, there's a HUGE discrepancy between how The Sliding Door Company says they will install their systems on their OWN CONTRACTS, and what actually is being installed in customer's homes.  

This is without question, CONTRACT FRAUD and is actionable by customers of TSDC.  Examine your contract carefully.  If it says your system was to be installed into "header/blocking" and your system wasn't, YOU may have a claim! 

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