Troubleshooter: Floor job

RALEIGH The problem dates back two years when the homeowners discovered a leak that happened during the construction of their home.

The sub-contractor's insurance company approved the repairs and everything was fixed except for the floor, and that's when they hit a major roadblock.

The problem is exposed sub-floors in the kitchen and the dining room.

"Just want a resolution to this, I want my floors back," Suchandra Bhattacharya told the Troubleshooter.

Bhattacharya said there has never been a question that the floor would be replaced.

The first obstacle was when the contractor, Carolina Disaster Restoration, tried to replace the portion of the floor that suffered the water damage.

"We found out this is what happened," Bhattacharya said. "The color has changed so much so work was stopped at that point."

Since the original floor color didn't match the new floor color, the claim was sent back to Nationwide, the insurance company that is handling the claim.

Nationwide agreed to replace the entire floor and sent the Bhattacharyas a check for more than $8,000 to cover the repair. The family gave that money to Carolina Disaster Restoration to do the job.

"November of last year everything was finalized," Bhattacharya said. "He told us he ordered the wood and it would take a few weeks."

Weeks turned into two months and eventually the Bhattacharyas thought they got good news. But that wasn't the case.

"They called us right away to let us know the wood was there," Bhattacharya said. "They called him as well, we called him but he didn't pick up the wood."

Besides Carolina Disaster Restoration not picking up the floors, Bhattacharya said the wood wasn't paid for, despite giving Carolina Disaster Restoration the entire check from the insurance company.

Another problem is Bhattacharya said she wanted to know what she owed because the new floor was an upgrade from the original.

"On Monday we e-mailed him, 'Please let us know what we owe,' but no response," she said. "After that we said, that's enough, we've been through a lot and given them all the chances, we just want a resolution to all this."

Troubleshooter got involved and called Carolina Disaster Restoration. The owner blames the long delay on the Bhattacharyas as he said they took long to pick out the floor they wanted.

He also said they weren't willing to pay for the upgrade, which the Bhattacharyas dispute. But when he took a closer look at the case, he said he realized the original estimate was wrong because it was missing a portion of the floor, which caused the price difference.

He brought it to the attention of Nationwide and Nationwide sent the Bhattacharyas another check to cover the difference and get the new floors installed.

The family is very happy to have the situation resolved. They said the new floors look great and they did not pay anything out of pocket for the upgraded floors as Nationwide covered the entire repair.

A Nationwide representative said the dispute was between Carolina Disaster Restoration and the Bhattacharyas, since the Bhattacharyas hired who they wanted and Nationwide was not the insurance company of either party.

Nationwide only represented the original sub-contractor who caused the initial water damage. But in an effort to help and be a good corporate citizen, the Nationwide rep said it continued to work with both parties to resolve the situation.

Nationwide offers the following tips for homeowners when working with contractors:

  • Request an itemized written estimate for any proposed work from contractors
  • Be wary of estimates that seem wholly unreasonable
  • Beware of profiteers. Contact your local Better Business Bureau if you have any concerns with a contractor you may decide to use for repairs.
  • Avoid paying any upfront fees. Nationwide will provide compensation for reasonable estimates for the correct method of repair. Policyholders can call and ask us about an estimate.
  • Be wary of cash deposits. One common scam is to show up with a chain saw, promise to return in a few hours and never come back to perform the work.
  • It is always a good idea to take pictures of any damage before repairs begin.
  • If you have any questions, call the Nationwide claims hotline at 1-800-421-3535 or your local agent immediately.

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