RoomScapes / Terrible company
We entered into a Design Retainer agreement for a kitchen remodeling and paid $4000 to RoomScapes on Dec. 20, 2008. Limited design work was performed, but the design was not completed fully to the agreement. RoomScapes had recently redesigned a kitchen of the same model of home and our design concept was extremely similar, so their knowledge of the basic requirements was very good. The designer we worked with was very talented and easy to work with. However, the problems started when we continued to discuss project costs and it was clear that the owner of the company became involved.
During the design phase, Roomscapes provided price estimate ranges for the project for a limited set of work categories and informed us of the types of design choices (ie cabinets, layout) and specific examples that would be in the high and low range. After a bit more work, we reviewed the budget again with RoomScapes and they would not provide anything more than one total project cost with no detail. After insisting for more detail, they provided a few top level expenses only and remained extremely elusive in providing any explanation or detail. All costs provided were near or above the maximum of the price ranges, despite us choosing cabinets and design layouts that RoomScapes said (in writing on the first cost estimates wrt cabinets) would be at the lower range.
Further, when we questioned the following day why, among other abnormalities, construction costs, were $10k more than the maximum of the range, we were told that the costs were a mistake and received an updated cost top level summary where the construction costs were reduced by the mistake, but now $8k of that cost now magically appeared in cabinet expenses with no rationale as to why and no additional design decisions or work had occurred in the interim. RoomScapes refused to explain with any details other than 'things change' and I believe that the intent was to achieve the same total project cost, regardless of the design content.
We feel we were misled and handled in an unethical manner in an attempt to extract as much cost as possible, regardless of the project cost. They wasted hours of our time and the detailed design work per the retainer agreement was never actually completed. I believe that when RoomScapes came to the knowledge that we were going to ask questions to understand the project costing and would negotiate, they had no intention of finishing the design and behaved in a manner to damage the relationship such that work would stop.
The owner of RoomScapes did not accept responsibility for what occurred, even though the designer on the project apologized and accepted responsibility. The designer also told me verbally on 2/14/09 that if we didn't go forward, we would likely have our retainer fee refunded and she told me she would talk to the owner (2/18/09). The owner of the company denied any knowledge of the situation until I confronted him directly on 2/21/09 although, in retrospec, it seems he had plenty of knowledge. I believe that RoomScapes conducted business in a manner to take advantage of a customer with the intent of extracting the largest payment possible. When a customer asks questions or asks for more information particularly on costing, the practice is to say 'we don't provide that'. However, RoomScapes had already collected a large design retainer, which essentially traps customers into being pushed into accepting their business practices.
Roomscapes did offer to refund $2000 of our design retainer, but this is an unacceptable compromise considering our experience and that the design was not completed per the agreement.
We would be satisfied if our full design retainer was refunded and will update this report accordingly if RoomScapes eventually does right by us.
We were lucky that we didn't go as far as to commit to a contract with these people and even large financial commitment. I can only image what could have happened after they had demolished my kitchen and they had us with a 'larger gun to our heads'.