I contracted Dufferin Iron & Railings to supply and install galvanized wrought iron railings at a client of ours. They had a great website showing a large database of pictures of railings. I thought that they must be reputable with such a nice website. I guess I was wrong. I don't know why I didn't check out their reviews on Homestars, as I had promised myself that I would only ever hire a company with good reviews on Homestars. Well, somehow, I must have forgotten.
The short story is that Oliver's customer service is poor and does not leave someone ever wanting to deal with them or recommend them to anyone else again.
The details are as follows: The job they did was for a client of mine. We had just completed new masonry retaining walls, a new masonry front porch, and a new flagstone front walkway for our client. The finishing touch for safety and aesthetics was this wrought iron railing. They called me later the same day that they had installed it to let me know the job was done. I let them know that I would inspect the job and get back to them whether I was satisfied.
The next day, one of my foreman went by to look at the job and noticed that 3 flagstone copings were cracked. I notified Oliver about it, and he reminded me that he had stated on his original quotation that he is not responsible if any flagstone or concrete is damaged when they are installing the railings.
The morning Oliver's crew was going to the job to remove the portions of railings over the now cracked copings, my crew foreman discussed with him that he would have his crew just remove the screws and plates, but not cut out sections of railings, so that we could replace the flagstone copings. When my crew arrived to replace the stones, they noticed that instead of doing what was agreed, they instead cut out portions of the railings.
We also noticed that two flagstones were now cracked on the front walkway that were not cracked previously. I called Oliver to bring his attention to this and after checking with his crew, he called and left me a message that his crew said that they did not break these new stones.
The following week, I received an email from Oliver saying that he would like to come a few days later to reinstall the railing now that we had replaced the originally broken copings. He also now wanted a cheque to be on site for when his crew arrived to do this work. For some reason, I am guessing he was concerned that I may not pay for his work, or deduct an amount off the original contract price, even though this was never said by me.
I emailed back that I would like to get something in writing showing his warranties on the work as nothing was stated in his original invoicing. I also let him know that I could not use his services in the future due to the way he has handled our project.
Oliver's reply to this email was that he would now like a certified cheque to be on site when his crew comes back in. I gather the more I expressed not being happy about his level of customer service, the more nervous he was getting that he would not get paid the remaining amount. I also did not yet receive any paperwork or mention of pending paperwork that will state in writing his warranties.
At this writing, I am going to send him an email to remind him.
- Approximate cost of services:
- Company Response
It is unfortunate but necessary that I take time to reply to the highly exaggerated and untrue statements of Peter Solti from Greenapple Landscaping so that other Homestars subscribers can make their own educated opinion about Dufferin Iron & Railings.
As a personal affront to me, Oliver, Peter said that my service was poor. I serviced him through the whole consultation, installation and repair process. I continued to follow up so that we could finish this project in a timely manner acceptable by the end client.
Regarding the cracked stones, Peter was well informed that due to the inconsistent nature of stone and mix of concrete we are not responsible for chipped and cracked stones or concrete. It rarely, but sometimes happens when we drill into stone. Unfortunately it did happen on this occasion when we drilled the holes for the screws. But Peter had issues with 2 stones along the walkway that had cracked, and a bench in the backyard with grind marks on it. Our crew never entered the backyard or dropped anything on the walkway, and since the stones were already cracked when they arrived it was of no consequence to us or our scope of work.
We had all hoped that we could just remove the screws so that Greenapple could slide out the broken stone, but this was not possible. So we removed the necessary sections of railing, so that Greenapple could easily replace the stone and we would re-weld and install the sections afterwards. In retrospect, we should have left the sections there for him to struggle with. On top of that, their snowmelt system failed, and the stones had to be removed anyways. Our “error” in removing the railings facilitated in their repair endeavours which held up the reinstallation process. All this would have been an extra charge under normal circumstances, but our goal was to complete the project and satisfy the end customer.
Our level of customer service is measured by our ability to do our job and help resolve problems, not by our right to be paid COD by a private company with no prior history with us. I helped Greenapple sort out the details of the lighting on the posts and made the railing as per existing sample on the windows as a courtesy. One month into the project he sent me an architectural design of the railing requested which looked nothing like the sample we were requisitioned to emulate and had already completed because the customer wanted it as soon as possible. It’s the first time we heard of an architect being involved. It’s a good thing the right hand knows what the left hand is doing! I told Peter that I would gladly remove the railing and refund his 25% deposit if he felt dissatisfied with the end product. Obviously he was more concerned about getting paid than we were. I finally asked for 80% to be paid while we were waiting for them to sort out all their issues two months into the project. When that failed I asked for full payment at time of completion. When he replied with unprintable expletives, I demanded a certified cheque. Two weeks after completion we were finally paid after he demanded a $250.00 discount for the “compromises in quality”. Some people feel the need to have the last word. Whatever makes you happy Peter!
The order was placed November 7th, 2011. We installed on December 19th, 2011. Then we removed the railings to allow for the repairs on our Christmas break. Then we waited until February 3rd, 2012 for Greenapple to resolve their problems and reinstall our railings and get paid. So much for the customer service issue. So, Peter, don’t make bold and personal accusations until the job is at least finished and get your facts straight! Greenapple has openly stated that they will never use our services again. To which I say, Thank You!
To all of the reviewers, thank you for tolerating this obligatory rebuttal. I hope it has been somewhat informative and mildly entertaining.