Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Our Window Tale

On January 30th of this year, a maintenance crew was working on the hill behind our house and struck a rock with a weed whacker.  The rock flew over our wall, striking one of the glass doors on the back of our house.  

We had seen the maintenance workers on the hill earlier, but  I was gone when the actual event happened, and Tim was upstairs taking care of a sick Aleena.  Tim thought that I was home at the time, so she didn't come down to investigate when she heard the sound.

The outside pane fractured, although it remained in tact except for the small hole where the pebble entered.  The interior pane was unblemished.  Although it is not evident from the photo, the resulting pattern from the fracture was quite attractive, and I would have been tempted to leave it that way were it not for the fear that it would collapse every time I closed the adjacent door.  

I contacted the home owners association (HOA), who told me that the city is responsible for the maintenance of that area.  When I contacted the city, they pulled the relevant records and told me that it was the HOA.  In response to my follow up email, the HOA agreed that their subcontractor was responsible for the maintenance, but that no-one had been doing maintenance on that day, and that in any case, they were forbidden from using weed whackers in that area.  

Finally, after several back and forth emails (in which I informed them that my wife and I had seen the landscapers that morning), the landscaping company agreed to pay for the damage as a matter of good will.  A month later I looked out my window to see the landscapers back out there clearing the area with their weed whackers.  I didn't say anything to them, but made sure to take plenty of photos in case the offer to pay fell apart.

It turns out that getting the company to agree to pay for the repairs was much easier than getting the repairs done.  We had someone from the home builder come over to help us.  Their guy informed us that because of the way the door was constructed, we could not merely replace the glass, but rather would need to replace the entire door.  They made some calls for us and we found out that they could no longer get the door.  Shortly after this happened, I injured my knee and the window went on the back burner for a while.

When we started back up again, continued to have problems finding someone to fix this.  We couldn't find a way to actually get a new door.  We got in touch with the actual manufacturer who told us that it was too small of a job and he wasn't interested in pursing it.  We had glass companies come out, promise to give us an estimate, and then never deliver.  I know that I could have been more diligent with them and continued to follow up, but it was a combination of frustrating and non-urgent.  If both panes had broken, I would have pushed harder.

Finally, in October, Tim had a handyman over to look at remodeling the kids closets.  She asked him to take a look at the door and give an estimate.  He said that he could fix it for $1,250.  Not really in the mood to spend a lot of time finding a second estimate, we had him do the work.  They actually cut out a section of the door just outside the edges of the glass, replaced the glass and patched it up.  They did a great job and it is very difficult to tell which door was repaired.  

Door now repaired, I turned to trying to get reimbursed.  I was a little concerned that the "goodwill" offer that was promised back in February would have evaporated when they saw the $1,250 bill and that we did not have multiple estimates.  I emailed the HOA who in turn forwarded the information to the landscaping company.  The agent told me that they would send out a check.

Weeks went by and no check arrived.  They hadn't told us that they weren't going to pay, they just hadn't paid.  Four weeks after I sent the invoice, I followed up with the HOA.  She told me that the landscaping company was waiting for an address, and that she had just forwarded it to them.  The check would go out by the end of the week.  Sure enough, on Friday the check for $1,250 arrived.   The only problem was that the check was made out to Brian, while all of my accounts use my legal name of Edward.  In the past this sometimes, but not always causes problems depositing checks.  I deposited the check via mobile app into our investment account and it seems to have worked.  If not, I'll have to go to see if I can resolve it personally at the bank.  I don't want to have to ask them to issue a different check.  

When this all started, I thought the hard part would be to get paid, not getting the repair itself done.  

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