Based on favourable HomeStars reviews and a friend’s recommendation, we contracted Biscaya to renovate two bathrooms, install hardwood flooring in the main living area and replace ceramic tile kitchen flooring, a $35,000 project including the cost of materials. The quote we received from them was not the cheapest by any means and some parts seemed downright overpriced (for example, the cost of trimming 1/4 inch off a bed room door was $80 + HST). We agreed also to onerous payment terms - 50% of the total contract before any work was completed and the remaining 50% immediately as each stage of the project was completed. By doing this we gave up our rights under the Ontario Construction Lien Act by which we could have retained 10% of the contract price for 45 days after the project is done. This Act helps ensure the quality of the work and also protects consumers in case the contractor doesn’t pay the sub-trades or suppliers working on your project. The first three weeks of the project were a honeymoon. Brenda and Bernardo are to be commended on both their knowledge and design taste. The work done by their employees and contractors was excellent. My spouse and I also did our part by remaining close and making ourselves available for the many decisions that were required as the project was being completed. For example, when a bathroom wall was removed, some studs were not even and we paid a hefty $700 to have the 10 or so studs replaced. Communication was pleasant and productive. However, the final week of the project turned into a drunken sailor race to the finish and relations became unpleasant. For example, the fridge and stove were replaced over ceramic tiles when the floor grouting had been completed less than two hours prior, a kick plate clip of the kitchen cabinet was broken (I spent many hours obtaining new part and repairing it), the handle of the fridge was broken (Biscaya was unable to repair it properly and, after six weeks, offered a financial settlement), doors were leaned directly against treasured oil paintings, furniture was not properly covered which resulted in horrible dust throughout the house when existing ceramic tiles were removed, a broken wheel of the fridge was found on top of it (Biscaya denied any responsibility), a small arithmetic error was made in a computer-generated invoice (Biscaya refunded me the amount when I pointed it out to them), flooring transition pieces fell off within a week of installation (subsequently reinstalled but one still loose) and, most important, Biscaya refused to complete a small part of the contract that had been verbally agreed to. We paid a separate contractor nearly $500 to complete it. Promises of work and completion dates were met with excuses and Biscaya retreated to strict interpretation of the contract wording. For example, “provision and installation of hardwood mouldings” meant that factory primed mouldings were installed with no filling of installation nail holes and no additional painting over the primer. In short, I was quite surprised that Biscaya would risk their reputation with behaviours such as this. They pointed out subsequently that there had been health and criminal issues that had a negative impact on the timing and completion of their work. Nevertheless, I do not believe that it should be necessary to resort to name calling and threats of a Consumer Protection Act complaint (both by me) to have a project completed. I would advise strongly that any future client of Biscaya to be well aware of and exercise their final payment hold back rights, insist that any contract spell out in writing every single detail of work to be done and have any larger contract reviewed by a lawyer. I have noticed that within previous HomeStars reviews, Biscaya rigorously rebuts any complaints about their work. However, I have pictures and other evidence to back up my comments and any member of the public is welcome to see them.
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- Company Response
Hi Stewart Waldorf
We are very sorry about your poor last week of the project experience. We can assure you that our team strives for great craftsmanship and great customer relations. Your grout was not touched by appliances, since we lifted them into their position, stepping in the centre of the tiles. Keep in mind that what you call a "drunken sailor race" was our effort to finish your project as per our deadline, without compromising any finishing details. Just to give you peace of mind, let us know if there are any issues with your grouting or any other item related to our work, and it will be our pleasure go back and correct it.
About the fridge, the reason it took so long, was due to your fridge being discontinued, we tried finding it with several suppliers in Canada and the USA, however we were out of luck. Reason why we responsibly agreed to pay you for the damage. I thought this was communicated with you enough, however based on your feedback, it was not, I apologized for keeping you waiting for so long.
Our team is very careful with our customer's belongings. It's very hard for us to believe they rest doors over your wall paintings, and as per our standards this is unacceptable. I would have appreciated if you had addressed this with me when we were on site with my team. I sincerely apologize.
Unfortunately, any work that was not quoted nor charged, cannot be completed without cost, since I have to pay for materials and labour. I am very sorry this items created such a bad feeling between us, however I never agreed to do that work nor verbally neither in writing.
The contract says: "supply and install shoe mouldings", which come primed from the factory. This mouldings were installed and caulking was applied, leaving it ready to paint. You did not include paint which we offered, but you decided to leave out of the scope of work.
The project was completed as per our deadline. We were diligent giving you updates on timing. Every time work was added, we modify the timing for you and Lucy and you were aware and we agreed to it.
You never threat any member of our team Stewart, because your project was completed on time
We as the owner's - operators of Biscaya Home Renovations are always improving, and pay close attention to detail and customer service, as our reviews and scores show. Your comments about the timing and I quote "Health and Criminal reasons" seemed to be harsh, unfounded and dishonest.
Two things were mentioned to you and Lucy while we were working at your home, not as excuses for timelines, but as personal matters, we felt comfortable mentioning at the time. One, being the birth of one of our worker's son. Which did not affect the deadline, is this what you are referring as health issues? Second, being the kidnapping of a family member, overseas back home, is this what you a referring as a criminal issue?
For the record our entire team has no criminal record.
We will be there to re secure your transition piece, please let me know your availability, so we can get it done.