Westlake inspectors save woman from $20,000 basement waterproofing repair

Inspection report showed water was from downspouts

WESTLAKE, Ohio - Peggy Oliver of Westlake is desperately looking for a solution to the water issues that are attacking her basement, but she warned consumers to do their homework before signing a big contract for repairs.

Oliver told NewsChannel5 she was stunned when she started to get estimates for basement waterproofing.

I was in deep shock, I really was," said Oliver. "Just under $20,000, and then there was another one, either $29,000 or $39,000. I said that's out of the question."

Oliver signed a $20,000 contract for repairs, and issued a $6,400 down payment on the job 10 days ago.

Oliver told NewsChannel5 she was comfortable with the diagnosis and the company that she hired to shore-up the water problem in her basement.

"I really felt they had diagnosed it correctly," said Oliver. "Yes I really did, I'm a believing person."

But Oliver explained days later she had Westlake Department of Engineering inspectors at her home to look over the job.

Westlake inspectors issued a five-page report, after doing tests at her home, and clearly determined the water issues were caused by clogged downspouts, and not a major foundation breach.

"He said the problem is your clogged down spouts,' said Oliver. "The water has no place to go but in the basement."

Westlake inspector estimated repairs to cost no more than $2,000, and not the $20,000 estimated by the contractor Oliver hired.

In response, Oliver contacted the Ohio Attorney General's office and NewsChannel5 when she claimed she was having issues getting back her down payment.

"They promised that they would give my money back," said Oliver. "But when the contractor arrived he didn't have my check."

NewsChannel5 contacted the company, and it responded immediately. It agreed to give Oliver a refund on her down payment as soon as possible.

5 On Your Side won't name the company in this case because it rarely makes a misdiagnosis when trying to determine the cause of basement water issues.

Consumers should always contact their city building department before signing up for a major home improvement project.  Make sure to always take out the proper building permits, and have follow-up inspections as a job moves forward.

Oliver believes consumers need to do their homework before signing a big contract.

"Talk to more than one person, get information from knowledgeable people in the trades, and your city hall," said Oliver. "If you need a permit, you need a permit, that's to protect you."

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