Rocky River woman waits for deck refund; contract details important when booking spring project

Family finally had to build a deck on their own

ROCKY RIVER, Ohio - Christine Norris was hoping to have a deck added to her Rocky River home in time to enjoy the warmer spring days outside.

However, a $2,000 down payment and several weeks of waiting have produced nothing but frustration.

Norris told NewsChannel5 she signed a contract with THI Construction back on April 2 and was promised the job would get started in just a few days. But Norris explained she's been dealing with a series of delays.

"The day after he got the money, he promised he would go get the permit. At that point I thought he had gotten the permit. When I came home, I found out that his insurance was not valid," said Norris. "I've probably called almost every single day and it's been very, very difficult."

NewsChannel5 contacted the Rocky River Building Department and it confirmed the company had delays in getting a building permit and initially drilled holes for the deck that weren't up to code for a deck that was to be  attached to the house.

Finally, Norris decided to pull her own building permit and had family members help her build the deck on her own.

5 On Your Side Troubleshooter Joe Pagonakis called THI Construction and the company responded immediately, apologizing for the construction delays and promising a refund would be issued to Norris within the next five days.

The company told NewsChannel5 Norris did not call everyday, and that all calls were returned.  The company issued the following statement in response to our story:

"There was no arguing, I agreed and said I would get it back to her," said a company spokesperson. "There seems to be a misunderstanding as to the construction of the deck. Miss Norris was told prior to you contacting me she would have the refund due her this week. She has not been waiting 6 weeks for a refund."

Before booking a spring or summer project, it's important consumers confirm their contractor has current insurance, is properly bonded and is licensed to do work in their city.

Homeowners must obtain a detailed contract for the job that includes a specific start and completion date, a specific job plan and a complete detailed list of supplies.

Consumers should in all cases limit the amount of up-front money issued to contractors. It's customary to give contractors enough money up-front to purchase the supplies for the job.   

Meanwhile, Norris must wait a few more days and hope she'll get her $2,000 back.

"It would be nice to get the rest of the money so then I can finish the deck and put the railings up near the door," explained Norris. "Until I get a refund, I can't do anything else -- I can't finish."

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