Can We Pick 'Em or WHAT?

There's a problem with our paint job. Those of you who have been around for a long time will recall that we had to get our house painted in late 2003 because our homeowner's insurance threatened to revoke our coverage if we didn't paint (not sure why that made such a difference, but it did). We hired a firm called American Craftsman, formerly known as Al Vanek Painting, which was run by a guy named Alton Vanek. They started out fine, but ended up taking forever to do the work, doing a piss-poor job of it (particularly in places where it was not easy or even possible to inspect their work while they were on the job), and the owner actually showed up and tried to physically intimidate me into giving him the last payment when the work was not remotely complete.

So the paint is peeling, less than five years after it was applied, and we looked up our contract and found the guarantee, and decided to call in to get it repaired. Only the phone numbers don't work. So we looked up his license at the California State Licensing Board. And it turns out that it was revoked. Why?

American Craftsman revoked license

You have to admit it, that is one intriguing revocation. A quick couple of searches later, and we find that shortly after he left our job, the owner of the company went to jail for bribery. Which is its own kind of awesome, isn't it?

People sometimes ask me why we are so wary of hiring contractors to work on our house. I think the fact that we sequentially hired a criminal and then a moron to work on our house pretty much explains it.

And let me say, to the guys who are going to e-mail about how stupid I am (though I may have chased them off with all those posts about plants lately), we called every reference for both of those businesses, got copies of their licenses and insurance paperwork, visited places they said they had worked on, and did all the due diligence. But our legal system is designed to encourage commerce, not protect consumers, and for all the toys with warnings printed all over them, this is one area where it really is caveat emptor. The next time we hire somebody to work on our house it will be under much more stringent observation.

Edited to add:

By request, a photo of some of the bad paint. This is actually a section where they failed to fill and sand before painting, as you can see. It's at the back of the house, right where the lower portion of roof meets the wall.

Bad paint job

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posted by ayse on 02/11/09