***UPDATE Feb 27, 2021*** Uneven/bouncy flooring. "Double charges" on balance + 2nd absurd legal threat for $50,000+ lawsuit (details bottom of this review).
***UPDATE Feb 25, 2021*** (Bottom of this review replying to company's responses)
Feb 23, 2021 (Original Review)
I went with Finishedbasement.ca (ISM RenoBuilders) because I saw the many good reviews here. Unfortunately, the whole process has been let down after let down with management. Particularly they come from general manager Vitaly (Owner Igor's son) and Andrew (brother in law to Vitaly).
NEGATIVE #1 (Delayed):
Project was supposed to start in second week of November, 2020. My building permit was approved a few days late. As a result, they gave my Nov spot to somebody else even though I paid the $830+ deposit that they cashed to "hold the start date". My project ended up starting on Jan 5, 2021 almost TWO MONTHS LATER.
Delay in responses and promises were just as bad. Andrew, Vitaly and Natalie have repeatedly promised getting things done tomorrow, the next day or soon, and they don't get it done and you don't hear from them. Rather, you'll have to chase them for it (see #3 for example).
NEGATIVE #2 (Workmanship):
Workmanship is quite careless and rough in various places (see pictures below). These are only some pictures taken after the whole crew left, not all. To be fair to them, the last 2 pictures with the cut up drain and uneven wooden door, Andrew did send someone to fix them. But the rest are still not fixed, like the slashed washroom hole for water hose, missed door paint, odd holes above door frame, etc.
NEGATIVE #3 (Incomplete work, FAILED final city inspection)
On top of the poor workmanship on various places, I paid them 50% deposit $1,300+ for the wetbar to be installed. Natalie (Vitaly's wife, much more polite relatively speaking) said her crew typically installs the wetbar 1-2 weeks after the main crew has left. At the time of this writing, it has been OVER 4 WEEKS since she said that. And the newest I heard from Andrew is the wetbar is "delayed at BC", and they can't give me an estimate on when they will complete the job even though they already cashed my 50% deposit. Without this wetbar installed, the City inspector would not grant final inspection occupancy approval. With covid and lockdown, I understand there can be delays, BUT the MAIN PROBLEM comes to #4...
NEGATIVE #4 (Rude Threats of Lawsuit)
Vitaly called me requesting I meet with his dad "Mr. Igor" for the final payment this Saturday. I told him that as I've been dialoguing with Andrew, I will give them that final cheque when the whole project is complete including all the workmanship touchups and wetbar installed.
I told Vitaly that the city's inspector would NOT sign off on the completed basement certificate because there is an orange plumbing cap on the uninstalled wetbar. So the project is incomplete. Vitaly insists that is not an issue even though the inspector says the basement is incomplete.
Would YOU want to have poor workmanship throughout your basement unfixed, wetbar with 50% deposit cashed but unfinished and a building inspector refusing to certify an incomplete basement as a result?!
On the phone, I stood firmly to Vitaly that I will ONLY remit final payment when they have completed the entire project. Somehow he seems to have lost it at that point as if he needs to get his way like a little child or else... So he starts throwing out legal threats about how I will hear from his lawyers and "legal team". He has no idea who he is talking to.
Even if he follows through, he would spend thousands of dollars on lawyer and court fees (most likely more than my final balance). It would also take him a year or more for the case to bring to court, go through trial, etc. At the end, he would have wasted all this time and lost his own money chasing after the SAME OUTCOME, that is, I would give him final payment after the job is completed. Why not just finish the job promptly and get paid right away? I don't understand...
If wasting time and losing his money with a frivolous lawsuit is his thing, I'll let him have it.
Without ending too negatively, I want to be fair and mention the crew who worked here were overall polite and did the job fast (although that speed might have sacrificed some better workmanship).
*** UPDATE Feb 25, 2021 (Replying to company's responses) ***
Reply to Company's Response #1:
I denied meeting with owner Igor because Andrew and Vitaly demanded I write the final cheque in that meeting even when your project is incomplete.
***At present, your company built a basement that has FAILED to pass final inspection for occupancy approval in the City of Markham. And your management (Vitaly) demands I still make full payment regardless in a very rude manner.***
Even your lawyer Jim who I spoke with today understands your company's predicament. He agrees to my position that payment will ONLY be remitted AFTER the wetbar is installed, all touchups completed, and the City inspector grants occupancy approval. I've told Vitaly and Andrew this verbally and in writing many times. I'm not sure why it takes your own lawyer to make them understand such a reasonable and basic concept.
In fact, I am meeting Igor this Saturday to go through the balance (not remitting payment). Had Vitaly remained calm and reasonable on the call and agreed to that, I would have said yes to meeting with Igor. Instead, he chose to make preposterous legal threats that will not serve him in the court of law.
Reply to Company's Response #2:
As I mentioned in the original review, I am aware of covid and lockdown delays. I am willing to wait a bit longer for the wetbar to be installed. Refunding my 50% deposit does not help when I already paid for plumbing to be installed. 3 big pipes are sticking out of my wall and it looks odd without the wetbar installed (even if a permanent cap is replaced).
The issue is not about understanding delays or using what plumbing cap.
***The issue is your company DEMANDS final payment when the basement you built has FAILED to pass City's final inspection. What's worse is when your management (Vitaly) rudely made legal threats to get his way, which he will not get as your lawyer confirmed today.
Reply to Company's Response #3:
The 2nd reschedule date was second week of November. My permit approval came just a few days later, and you rescheduled me the 3rd time almost TWO MONTHS LATER. There were no delays on my end for drawings. The delay was on your associates PermitGuys who waited a few days after I gave them payment before submitting the drawings to the city. Had they submitted immediately to the city, we likely would have made the November start date. Please have better communication with your permit drawing associates in the future.
What's worse is the delay of your company's responses and execution of various tasks. Ask Andrew and Natalie and they will not deny. I can upload multiple screen capture of text messages timestamped if you want to dispute this further.
Reply to Company's Response #4:
Offering a deposit refund does not help. At the time, many reno companies were scheduling around March to June of 2021. I had no choice but to go with your company to avoid an even later start date.
Reply to Company's Response #5:
Touch ups are understandable. But there remains well more than 2 items outstanding:
i) Polytarp over insulation in the mechanical room which the city inspector said is standard practice (this is no minor "touch up").
ii) Random holes drilled above the door frames that can be seen when coming down from the stairs.
iii) 3cm long slashed drywall because of poor installation of the toilet water intake.
iv) All the doors installed have price labels and inventory wordings on top which when removed produce a horrible uneven painting of wood and white color. With more caution, a simple spray of paint over all 4 sides of each door would solve this issue.
v) 2 ventalization duct covers that cannot close because of poor installation. I had to unscrew and take out the 2 duct covers myself, cut up some drywall to allow for movement for opening and closing of the covers.
vi) Multiple cracks on wall skirts and corners in various places.
Perhaps with more attention to details these can be avoided?
*** UPDATE Feb 27, 2021 *** Uneven/bouncy flooring. "Double charges" on final balance + 2nd absurd legal threat for $50,000+ lawsuit.
PROBLEM #1 - Uneven/bouncy flooring
There are over 30 spots throughout the entire basement that bounces up and down and make a thumping sound when walked upon. My recorded video shows it much better than words. If Homestars allow, I will post the YT video link later.
Owner Igor says this is "normal" and does NOT need a fix because my basement floor is slightly slanted towards the drain in the mechanical room. That slight slant is true. But I'm not sure it is "normal" to have over 30+ spots throughout the entire basement to be "bouncy up and down" and many making thumping sounds when walked on?...
PROBLEM #2 - "Double charges" on final balance
On the final balance report, Igor showed 2 charges as "extras" when I have verbal and written confirmation that they are included in the base price of the signed contract. They are i) fresh air furnace intake for $380+HST and ii) "extra" storage/closet drywall for $1,386+HST, totaling $1,995.58 overcharged.
I offered to show Igor the text messages from Andrew (his sales staff) who confirmed those are included in the base price of the signed contract. I also have a PDF with their company's letterhead sent by Andrew showing the included charges. But he declined to see them and did not change the inaccurate final balance to account for these "double charges".
PROBLEM #3 - Owner Igor makes threat of lawsuit for $50,000+.
When leaving, Igor pointed his finger at me and said if I don't remove my Homestar and Google reviews, he will sue me for a "minimum of $50,000" in court. I asked him "are you threatening me?" He nodded his head and said "YES". He continues to try and pressure me (like his son Vitaly) and said he even had another client with a lawsuit for $100,000.
Begs the question... how often do they threaten to sue their clients? I do not know. What I do know is this company had already made two legal threats to me.
All I want from this company is:
i) They finish the entire project and fix outstanding issues so I can receive the City's final inspection occupancy approval. And then I will give them final payment.
ii) Remove the "double charges" on the final balance that they said are included in the base price of the contract both verbally and in writing.
Is that too much to ask?
Is that unreasonable?
I have informed their lawyer Jim that I will NOT remove my review despite their legal threat of a $50,000+ lawsuit. Should they proceed with a second lawsuit for defamation, I am fully prepared because my review is truthful. I've already been compiling and backing up pictures, emails, text messages, PDFs, photos and videos to substantiate all my claims.
But why should a client of this company go through all this trouble just to ask for basic reasonable requests?
Would YOU want to go through all of this?...