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Olshan Foundation Repair / bogus repair/warranty

Review updated:

We own an antebellum home, Ash Point Plantation, built in 1880, located in northeast Louisiana near Shreveport. The home is on the National Historical Register and historical information is on file in the Bossier City Historical Library. My husband grew up here and the family sold the home in the 1970’s. Upon his retirement we purchased the home in 1999 and began some renovations. Two years after completing the updates a storm blew down a 100 year old water oak which fell on the front of the home. Being built on pier and beam the home’s foundation was shifted and it became necessary to level and stabilize the home. Jan. 2003 we hired Olshan Foundation Repair. Nick Meador signed the papers for Olshan that promised to level and stabilize the home with their cable lock lifetime warranty. In the two years to follow we endured living in an environment of constant construction. A new porch was built, interior/exterior painting sheetrock repair, masonry repair, trim work, new bathrooms, tile work, floors refinished, new duct work, plumbing, electrical were all repaired or replaced. Our insurance company paid most of the cost. One year later the home showed movement. The $90, 000.00 we spent on the home was being undone. The Olshan company came out a dozen times only to make the foundation worse. Cracks in walls, bowed siding on the outside began appearing, doors uneven, windows uneven, etc. The final time they came out we had spoken with the company owner and Vice Pres. of the office responsible for our repairs. We were told to find an engineer to make a report suggesting how to stabilize our home. Upon receiving the engineer report Olshan would take it under consideration. Four different engineers were called and none of them wanted to get involved with Olshan.
As of today’s date we have located an engineer and foundation repair company to look at our home. They said it was the worse foundation damage they had ever seen. The engineer is completing a report as of this letter. We have not received an estimate of cost yet.
We recently experienced a sudden shaking of the 3800 sq. ft. home two weeks ago. It startled us so that we began looking in each room to see if anything had fallen. The original fireplace in the living room has to come out immediately because it is about to collapse. The chimney is no longer attached to the stack. The mantel is away from the brick and the sheetrock covering the chimney is leaning. The mason estimates $5000.00 to remove the entire fireplace/chimney and $10, 000.00 to replace it with a brick one. The fireplace in the dining room will need some repairs but at this time doesn’t look unstable. The completely new/replaced front porch is coming away from the home and not supporting the roof properly. The original floors to the home are rolling, doors do not close, cracks are everywhere, the floor has separated from the baseboards leaving 3 inch openings exposing the ground in the worse areas, copper plumbing is being pinched, electrical wires are compromised and some parts of the home are no longer being supported by anything. The kitchen and bathrooms have tile damage. New vanities and toilets are leaning to one side. Bathtubs do not drain properly and toilets flush poorly. Our once beautiful home is literally falling down around us. I was unable to attach pictures for you to view but could send to you as an email attch.

Thank you for your time,
Michael and Cynthia Wardell
Ash Point Plantation
9/24/2010

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Comments

  • Bi
      Sep 26, 2010

    I don't know the details of your contract or the specific circumstances regarding your case; however, I'm very surprised that Olshan installed a Cable-Lock system for your pier-and-beam Antebellum home and promised to stabilize AND level the structure. I used to work for Olshan as an inspector many years ago, and the only places I would have ever recommended installing cable-lock pilings for a pier-and-beam Antebellum home is at the fireplaces, and ONLY then to stabilize them, not to level. The liability risk and danger of old mortar crumbling and bricks falling would have been too great to attempt leveling the fireplaces. As for the pier-and beam structure itself, I would have not recommending cable-lock piling. The sills and beams should have been leveled and shimmed between the piers accordingly. If some of the existing piers were damaged or in decay, then those piers should have been repaired or replaced by new piers installed in the exact same spots of the piers they were replacing. That is the proper way to level a pier-and-beam structure. It's not that the cable-lock systems could not potentially work in an older pier-and-beam structure, but rather that shimming between the piers and beams is the way the structure was designed to be leveled. Furthermore, those existing piers have been in place for 130 years, so they are not going to sink or shift very much if shimmed. They have had 130 years to do their shifting and sinking, so they are relatively stable by now. However, the new cable-lock pilings do have the potential to settle and to need additional adjusting. That is why cable-lock pilings have a lifetime warranty. Granted, you wouldn't get a lifetime warranty with pier-and-beam leveling and shimming, but you probably would not need the warranty either.

    Unfortunately, it looks like the Olshan inspector who oversold you a Cable-Lock system and the Longview manager who approved such a sale both offered you more than they could deliver, or should have attempted to deliver.

    I know that you have already done some of these things, but this is what I recommend that you do: (1) Hire a structural engineer (a good, reputable one) to document the issues of your structure and the damage that was potentially caused by the foundation work; (2) DO NOT do any structural repair work until the foundation is properly stabilized and leveled; (3) IF the existing original piers were not disturbed or retrofitted with cable-lock pilings, repair and replace any damaged piers; then level the structure onto those piers by shimming between the piers and beams and the piers and sills; also, if necessary, remove the above-ground portions of any cable-lock pilings that are obstructing the leveling (shimming) process; (4) Hire a foundation repair company that specializes in large pier-and-beam structures, and who has documented referrals who you can call and visit; (5) Insist that Olshan to refund your money AND pay for damages to your home (IF the structural engineer's report supports such findings). You do not have to continue to do business with them if they have failed to properly do the job you originally hired them to do.

    I am so sorry that you have had such a heartbreaking and disappointing outcome to what should have been a professional job by a reputable company. The owners of Olshan Foundation Repair, the DeShazer family, are good people, and the company usually does good work. It is too bad that there are some people who work for Olshan who are greedy and unqualified. They have cost the owners of Olshan quite a bit over the years. Here is wishing you a good final outcome for the future!

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  • Cw
      Sep 26, 2010

    As stated before we have hired a qualified engineer and foundation repair company. They stated much as you have regarding the pier and beam supports and their past experience with others that received the destructive cable lock system. We have already spoken with the President in Houston and the V.P in Longview .They certainly are aware of the severe damage they have caused. We would gladly welcome a full refund to assit with the repairs to come. But as you may also know, it is highly unlikely we will see a refund.

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  • Bi
      Sep 26, 2010

    In fairness to Olshan and the cable-lock system, it is an excellent foundation-repair system when installed properly on structures built on concrete slabs. As a former Olshan inspector, I was very confident in the system and have seen Olshan do a great job satisfying customers and fixing foundation problems with their homes and businesses. However, I have also seen Olshan repair crews botch jobs, such overlifting when leveling a structure.

    As I mentioned in my earlier post, the system is not best suited for pier-and-beam structures and should not have been installed on your home in such a full scale. Shame on Olshan for attempting to retrofit your home with cable-lock pilings when doing so was not the best solution. In your case, they promised more than they could deliver, and you should not be left with the bill on account of their mistakes in judgment and installation.

    Don't give up on Olshan giving you a full refund and paying for damages. I have seen them do it when they have botched a job. They squeaky wheel gets the grease. Loudly complain! Post a website with picture and/or video. Have an attorney send them a letter threatening litigation. You can win this. Please don't let this quietly go away. You deserve better!

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  • Jb
      Oct 11, 2010

    In response to the above comments. I too am dealing with Olshan. Last year we had two companies come out and look at our foundation problems. Olshan was chosen to do the work even though they were abot $1500 higher than the other company. We were impressed with their detailed analysis of the project. We had floors moving when walking across and the wall and ceiling separating in a small foyer. After having the work completed we went on and had our garage converted in to a bedroom and the adjacent room converted into a master bath and closet. Olshan explained that there would be some settling and that they would come back out a nd take care of it. But the floor movement seems to be worse than before. Also, as I am typing this I can feel the floor move as I adjust my seat. We had some one from Olshan to come back and look at the problem and he stated that we must have had some water damage to happen in order for the problems to reoccur. I have called Olshan and talked with the person that orginally came out and reminded him of the area that I had shown him prior where the wall and ceiling was separating. Unfortunately, he couldn't really remember, but said that he, the guy that came back when we first called about the problem and his manager would be meeting tomorow to look at picutres that I had sent and discuss the matter. I asked him for an address to write to complain and he said, well I hadn't given them a chance to discuss it yet. Judging from our conversation I don't think much is going to happen. I will be browsing the internet to get an address for the cooperate office to write a complaint. If no satisfaction, I guess I'll have to call the local tv stations and get them to come out and take a look at Olshan's work. Like the large crack in the new wall that was just built and the large gap in the ceiling and corner where you can see daylight. It looks like $7, 000 that we paid Olshan is not going to be all that we will be out of on this project.

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  • Pa
      Dec 02, 2010

    I have often seen Olshan and Cable Lock listed together in various ads and documents. I know of four people here in Baton Rouge who have had their homes wrecked by Cable Lock. These companies need to be put out of business because they are ruining people's lives. There was a $900, 000.00+ judgment and additional costs awarded in a lawsuit here in the 19th Judicial District Court against Cable Lock. Olshan uses the Cable Lock system. The suit was L'Herrison v. Cable Lock Foundation Repair, Inc., and David Knight. In all of these cases, there has been aggressive over-selling and patently false information given about the people doing the work and how the work would solve the problem. You need a good lawyer as well as a qualified, competent engineer to look at what has been done to you. Fred Tulley at Taylor, Porter, Brooks and Phillips here in Baton Rouge was the plaintiff's attorney for the plaintiff here. She did not have an antebellum home but got a jury verdict and ultimately got around $1.4M in damages and reimbursement for experts, attorneys' fees, and costs.

    I am so very sorry that your home was ruined by these people. It is outrageous that they destroyed a home on the Historical Registry.

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  • Cw
      Dec 03, 2010

    Thank you for your kind comments and phone call. As discussed and to update my complaint; we received a phone call from David Zieschang in Olshan's Longview Tx office. He was responding to the complaint I filed with the Fort Worth Better Business Bureau. David made an appt. to visit our home and inspect the damages claimed. After taking pics and viewing the home he said he would forward the info. to the home office in Houston. Oct. 26th we received a call from David offering a reimbursement from Olshan to be paid in 3 payments over 90 days with and an agreement to not sue for any additional amt. We agreed, signed the contract and received our first payment last week. This will assist us greatly with the expenditures to reconstruct our home. We made the decision not to fight based on economics. With 2 in college we have a budget. We sold our waterfront property and dream of building to finance the repairs to our home. Every day we remind ourselves that this is just a "MATERIAL THING" and we are blessed with nothing life threatening. I am certain that divine intervention persuaded Olshan to reimburse us and pershaps the recent settlement with Cable Lock Repair, Inc. encouraged the decision as well. I hope the information you provided will assist someone else that may be facing a similar delima with this cable lock systems/ life time warranty. I am so happy for Ms. L'Herrison's settlement and hope others will be able to benefit from this as well.

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  • Cw
      Dec 03, 2010

    I do not know why there is added text to my post i.e. #039;. I did not type this.

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  • Fo
      Dec 08, 2011

    This is a recurring problem with foundation repair companies in Dallas, TX and the entire North Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas region that contains clay soil. Many companies are there for a quick fix and do not put forth the workmanship necessary for foundation failure correction. I'm told that these bigger companies have full time crews that ONLY DO WARRANTY WORK! Not one crew, multiple crews. Their work is not performed with an attention to detail and the cost is exponentially higher... to cover all those advertising costs of course. If you're in the DFW Metroplex, check out Pro-Tech Foundation at http://ProTechFoundation.com for superior customer service. They corrected my foundation and used mudjacking to support it after it was lifted and my house has not had problems through this extreme North Texas drought.

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  • Cw
      Dec 08, 2011

    I felt it was necessary to update this post regarding the damage to our home. I placed a complaint with the better business bureau in Dallas and shortly thereafter received a call from Olshan. Apparently the Longview location was under new management. In short, the manager came out to the house to inspect it and advise us that the personnel that serviced our home were no longer employees of Olshan. After seeing the damage to the home my husband and I were asked what would we like to see happen at this point. We told him the very least we expected was to receive a full reimbursement. Two weeks later he called and we did receive a reimbursement in two payments. Trust me when I say that they came out ahead in this because we have since spent $50, 000 correcting the mistakes and now have to gradually repair all the interior damage. The nightmare is finally coming to an end.

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  • Ju
      Jun 28, 2013

    Olshans does have a few good employees that are honest detail oriented and interested in making the customers happy but as a employees wife I can tell you the lack of professional attitude and poor judgement in employee selection is the down fall of the Olshans in this area (Central TX). When they have good employees that question the lack of concern are the quality of customer service are lack there of the not so concerned PM and GM here will do at no cost what it takes to get that employee to quite and the employee had better not file a complaint are it becomes a all out get him out of here attempt without actually firing the employee I guess the point I am making is the employees that are good are treated as bad as the customers who are spending there money to have a job well down and the end result is the poor quality employees who lack the care are concern in the quality of their work stay on board to provide that poor quality to customers in return. Hopefully my husband will find a job that makes higher standards for employee to meet so that he can feel good about the work he provides along with a equally eager to provide quality work team . Hopefully if everyone that has a complaint against this company pulls together this companies owners will wise up and get some Professional customer service oriented PM And GM's and get back on track for the better .

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  • Ga
      Aug 29, 2013

    Thank you for posting your experiences. In 5/5/2003, I bought a house with no cracks, built in 1994 in College Station. In 2007, 8 wall cracks shown up and 2 doors could not close. Olshan was hired to repair, even though it was $2, 000 more than other companies. We chose Olshan because of the Lifetime Warranty. In the following years, the cracks appeared everywhere, Olshan told us that it is normal until the 27 cable-lock piling settle. Meanwhile 2 sewer pipes and 1 water pipe were broken besides of the multiplication of wall and ceiling cracks, in addition my sidewalk went down 4". In April of this year 2013, we called Olshan because we felt a strong sound and vibration on the floor. Spencer Wilson came in May, he said that Julio Gaviria (manager) will come. Julio re-schedule 3 times, finally in July 16 he came and promise to send the the repair plan the next day. He did not sent anything. Later I found out that he was promoted and move to another place. Nobody could help me at the moment, until I make a bad review and call other region to complain. Then Chris Cates called me to tell me that David Zieschang will help me. Two weeks ago, we heard another strong sound again. David has schedule the repair work of my house for Sept. 12 and 13 of 2013. Sincerely, I am afraid, David will not be here, even though he promise me. I would like to have more names in Olshan to report if the work is not satisfactory.

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  • Et
      Nov 22, 2013

    Olshan lied to us, has caused so much severe damage including cracking our slab now, and had Brad Boren call, threaten we take our money back now and sign a release or they were "walking" he said and no money would be paid. We have 5 blank contracts filled with lies they tried to get us to sign. You better check your home and see what damage they did and how they breached their own contract, deceptive trade practices and more. They stole my tools as well and promised 7 times now to send me a check, I still have no check. My home is damaged bad by Olshan. Ed Mays [protected]@yahoo.com we need a good Attorney

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