JW Home Improvement — Home remodeling service
I contacted JWHI due to Angie's list recommendations. My original unlicensed contractor had walked out on my basement reno which included stair refinishing, tiling of 200 sq feet of basement floor, creation of an under-stair reading nook, and an updated bathroom in the same footprint at prior bathroom.
When the original contractors left, what remained was the following: 1) patch, tape, mud, sand and paint drywall 2) build under-stair reading nook 3) clean and grout basement floor tile, 4) complete tile in bathroom, install vanity, sink, mirror, hardware, bath storage cabinets, shower column, grout, and complete drywall and paint
Jesse is extremely unethical. His employees at my home, Sam and James both warned me of same. They, in turn, were also unethical.
Here is my story:
1) On 16 December 2016, I called JWHI for an estimate. Sam Cassim answered and told me he was my "estimator", and came to my home several hours later to evaluate the work I needed done. It was clear when Sam arrived that he was not a contractor, as I knew far more about the details of what needed to be done than he did. Sensing that I knew more about contracting than he did, Sam suggested he would return with Jesse (the owner) later in the day and at that time, collect the $50 payment for an estimate.
2) Sam and Jesse later showed up same day. Jesse spent about 30 minutes in my home looking at the job, saying he would get back to me with an estimate. Sam told me that he would drop Jesse off at work, and return to collect the $50.
3) Sam came back same day to inform me that Jesse was going to charge $59, 000 for the work to be completed. Sam then said that he would take care of me using Jesse's staff as an authorized "side job", and get the job done for $12, 000 in 3 weeks with a one week contingency. Sam told me not to worry, that if anything at all happened, he was working under Jesse's MHIC number. Sam told me that Jesse carried a $2 Million dollar insurance bond, and had an additional $1 Million dollar "slush fund" for jobs that went bad to avoid insurance claims. Sam also assured me "not to worry", as he had done with with 12 other customers of JWHI where the JWHI estimate was far too high for the amount of work to be done.
4) Sam was extremely charismatic, and a good salesman, and sold me a "pay for performance" contract, where I would pay Sam $3000/week for work that was satisfactorily completed. If at any time, the work was subpar, I had the option to decrease payments as I thought fit and hold the last payment until completion. With these multiple assurances, I accepted Sam's offer, assured that JWHI and Jesse himself would do the right thing should anything happen at the job site. On 16 December, I gave Sam $50 for the "estimate" from JWHI (which I only received verbally from Sam), and an additional $250 cash for "tools and supplies" for his employees Charles and Will who I also met that same evening.
5) Sam and his team arrived to start work on 2 Jan 2017. Within very short order, it was clear that Charles did not know what he was doing. Charles ripped out all the drywall in the basement when it was not required. Charles ripped out all the electric which had already been run and was hot from my original contractors--again, doing work that was not required.
6) Though I paid for the first week of work in full, it was clear that other than unnecessarily demo my home, no progress had been made on my project. I informed Sam that I would be paying him less the following week. At this point, Sam, Charles, and Will had spent in excess of $2000 at Home Depot in supplies, and I had paid $3000 as per our agreement. Sam arrived at my home daily in his JWHI sweatshirt, and identified himself as a JWHI employee the entire time he was at my home.
7) After the second week of work revealed relatively little progress, Sam informed me that he would be bringing another JWHI employee to the job site, James Williams. By the end of the second week, I had given Sam nearly $6000 in cash including additional Home Depot purchases by Charles and Will paid for on credit card.
8) At the end of the second week, I fired Charles who was clearly incompetent. At the start of the 3rd week, I requested to Sam and James to fire Will who was also clearly incompetent. Neither took action on this request until the end of week 3 when it became apparent that Will was incapable of doing anything correctly. By this time, I had given Sam over 65% total funds toward the full project fee. At this point, Sam had still been coming to my home daily in the evenings to judge progress and attempt to keep me "quiet", and imploring me not talk to Jesse.
9) During week 4, James brought in 2 additional workers who showed up sporadically, and never worked a full day. Sam, at this point, had stopped responding altogether to texts, phone calls, and emails. James was in my home daily to assess progress, and each time, he was wearing his JWHI uniform, and also held himself to be a JWHI employee on my job.
10) During weeks 5 and 6, I made no further payments. At this point, I was beyond frustrated, and was putting together a formal MHIC complaint against JWHI. Both Sam and James implored me not to talk to Jesse, as they were afraid they would be fired. It was at this time that I recognized that I had been scammed by Sam Cassim.
11) Three weeks ago, I called JWHI and left a message due to the disaster that my job had become. No progress had been made, the money had nearly been entirely spent, and both Sam and James had been unresponsive to project needs writ large. Sam erased that message, but the software system at JWHI notified someone that Sam had attempted to erase the voice message I left.
12) Upon finding out from James that Sam had intercepted my communique to Jesse, I informed Sam that I would be taking legal action. He went to Jesse's home on a 18 February 2017, a Saturday, to "confess". I understand that Jesse fired Sam and James 3 days later. I also found out that Sam and James had been in the process of using the prior 12 clients and myself as references with an outside investor to start their own business. By late February, I found out from James that Sam had at least one additional client to myself, bringing the total number of clients to 14 that he had done "side work" for under JWHI's MHIC number, and with JWHI staff.
13) The week that Sam and James were fired, I went to the JWHI office on a Friday morning, 24 February 2017, wanting to talk to Jesse and see what he would do for me. He was polite, and agreed to come to my home to see the residual damages left by his two workers. He recorded the conversation I had with him in his office. Jesse then came to my home with another employee from his office on Saturday morning to take a look at what was remaining. He took pictures and recorded my conversation.
14) Two days later, Jesse himself informed me that he would not stand by the promises made by HIS VERY OWN EMPLOYEES, and has refused to finish the work on my home.
15) I am now out $10, 000+, and do not know if will be forced to take action to recover damages.