HOME OWNERS BEWARE! Over promised and undelivered….
Below is a true account of our experience dealing with contractor DeTaeye Designs.
What was quoted to be a 7 to 10 day job was not completed within a 3 months + timeframe and is still not completed. We have had to get quotes from other deck contractors to complete and fix the deck that DeTaeye Designs has been left incomplete.
We contacted Shawn from DeTaeye Designs (owner) on May 8, 2018 to come and provide us a quote to redo our deck. He was recommended by a co-worker who said he did a great job at her house. Shawn was very friendly and seemed knowledgeable as he made suggestions to make the deck bigger, had ideas for the railings etc. He said that he would provide 3D drawings (we never saw those). After consideration & research & based on Shawn’s knowledge and his self-professed work ethic we awarded the project to DeTaeye Designs. We received a quote May 15, 2018.
WHAT A MISTAKE THAT WAS!
May 20, 2018 Shawn set up a time to come by to discuss the deck & the quote but he never showed or called. I followed up with him on May 21, 2018 stating that we were disappointed not hearing from him as we waited around all day- his response via text “My girl in the office was to contact you to see if we could move the date to Monday; I do very much apologize for this rocky start and assure you that this is not traditionally the way we operate . All of our jobs run smooth and problem free. We will not further disappoint you.” I had asked if we should postpone our deck due to his scheduling and he said “no – they could do it.”
During our consultation I asked Shawn his pricing milestones his direct quote was “ I do not take any money, until the job is completed and the customer is happy with the job”. Only one week after that conversation we received an invoice from Shawn’s office manager for $5,000.00 explaining since this is a big project we need a deposit “we usually ask for 50% upfront but don’t know what Shawn has discussed with you so I need a 5K deposit” – I thought this made sense. I sent the $5,000.00 via e-transfer, a week after that another $5,000.00 invoice came through stating now that demolition has begun we need another payment to cover some of the costs of material. When I questioned Shawn about the second invoice he told me – “just ignore what Danielle sends I treat all my staff like mushrooms, I keep them in the dark. “Just pay this one and it will cover some costs.”
The job of demolition started a week later than we had planned. We then had to wait another week for posts to go. We sat with no access to our yard from patio doors for a week.
All the while there was excuse after excuse as to why work was not progressing – it was too hot, they did not have the proper material, his main guy has diabetes so needed to go home. I was told by Shawn he has nine crews of people working for him yet on our job he used only one guy and an apprentice.
Shawn stated he would bring samples of deck boards on June 16, 2018 and we still had not seen anything for another 2 days. Then on June 18, 2018 when I asked if he booked the electrician he said he had, but when I personally contacted Matt the electrician he said he was not booked.
Finally the first deck went up. The workmanship was so bad and the boards used were of inferior quality (especially since Shawn sold us on how he himself spent 4 hours hand picking every piece of deck board). When questioned about the quality of boards he said that “they were just ordered and were the first pick off a slab”. So his statements were not factual.
Another thing Shawn told us that convinced us he was the right contractor for the job was that he would be onsite every day to see how the work progressed; he also stated that he checked to ensure no nails were left behind on the grass and surrounding area (to ensure safety for children and pets). He said that he charged his guys $5.00 for every nail left behind. Shawn was not onsite every day and we found dozen of nails left over—we kept them in a bag to show Shawn. Shawn was hard to reach and would promise to pop by because he lived in the neighborhood. He would schedule a time and not show up – he did this often which caused much frustration.
The first deck boards were terrible and the stairs were done incorrectly. They had to pull all the deck boards off and start again. We then started to have problems with Shawn’s employees. Shawn’s employees starting speaking disparagingly about my husband and I despite our efforts to be friendly (including providing snacks). Additionally they tormented my dog because she was barking.
Once the second round of deck boards went up there were still problems with the boards; we had asked that he use longer boards so there would be fewer issues. I called the store to find out if they had longer boards in stock— they said yes. Shawn agreed to purchase the longer boards but never did. The spine board needed to be replaced so they came and took it out and left a hole for 3 weeks. After three weeks my husband called Shawn again and asked that this be fixed as we had company coming over – he sent someone and the piece was not wide enough. They installed it regardless leaving gaps on either side of the boards – creating a serious tripping hazard. I called Shawn and sent the photos to him, and he did not respond.
We decided to go with a glass railing system (Crystal Rail) as per a picture Shawn showed us from a Canadian magazine. Shawn told us he was going to become a distributor for this company so that he would get a better price. He said that he placed the order at the beginning of July. He kept saying that there was a delay and our glass would not be in for a couple of weeks. One of the reasons he gave for the delay was that it was a small order and that it would be processed once sufficient volume permitted. We continued to follow-up but still no glass. Finally at the end of July he stated he had the glass in his shop but wanted to put together a piece to see how it would go. Funny thing about that is, when we called Lowes the end of August to find out about some other pieces that were not ordered, the Lowe’s employee told us that all that was ordered was the glass and it was ordered on Aug. 10 and picked up by Detaeye Designs for our job on August 31 .
Shawn had suggested that we put a fire-pit on the extension of our deck. He said he would need to get our gas line moved, but not to worry as this is a charge he would take care of it. He also instructed me to look at fire-pits at a local store Fireaway and pick one. I did and offered to purchase it and Shawn said “no let me buy it as I get a discount from Gail she is good to me, she gave me a similar fire-pit for $800.00 for my moms place.” He said that he could pass on the discount to us. The fire-pit ending up costing me more than the quoted price from Fireaway. I was quoted $1250.00 and Shawn charged us $1490.00 plus tax (store would not tell us what discount they gave Shawn but said a discount was given). I called to find out the price of the fire-pit after we started having suspicions. The “free” gas line relocation cost us $600.00 plus tax – when questioned Shawn just said that there was more involved than he initially thought….. I paid thinking he was genuine in his words.
We asked Shawn if we had enough room to put the brackets in for the glass railing. He responded, - ” we are not going to put the brackets in we are going to use a different kind of bolt and it will be fine-it will pass inspection – don’t worry” We contacted the manufacturer and the City Building Department and both confirmed that the railing system has to be secured with bolts and mounting plate through 2x10s secured between joists. This meant that we would need a least a foot extension onto the deck. We constantly asked Shawn if we needed more room and Shawn reiterated time and time again that this was not needed to pass inspection. The building department said the railing would not pass inspection unless done as per the drawing.
Only one piece of glass railing was installed because Detaeye Designs did not order the required clips – he stated that he thought since we wanted frameless glass we would not want the clips. In reality the clips are there to provide stability. All of the issues Shawn has is always someone else’s fault; he never takes ownership or accountability for anything. We had confirmed that the clips for railing were never ordered. Shawn stated he ordered them from Lowes then when confronted he said “I ordered them from a distributor”. He never ordered them period.
DeTaeye Designs said they would power hose the gazebo and fence to get rid of sawdust—which they never did. He said that they would put new grass down where they kill the grass from working – they put in a dead piece of sod (which we have now been replaced). They also said that they could provide gravel for the side of our deck, which was never done.
The most disappointing thing about this besides, the $15,000.00 spent and of course not having a finished quality deck, is the fact that Shawn played on our emotions. He said “what I love most about my job is helping people and taking any stress away from the project. I will never leave anything unfinished or you unhappy with our job”. Well he has left us with holes on the deck boards, no railing, stairs that need to be fixed, missing deck boards surrounding the deck, uneven boards, an unsquared deck frame, missing 2 x 10 perimeter blocking for the Crystal Rail system and more.
It brings me no joy to write this review; I do so only to protect future customers who are considering working with DeTaeye Designs. I write this in hopes that DeTaeye Designs will not do to someone else what they did to us. Shawn DeTaeye is very convincing and as a self-proclaimed salesman, he has the gift of smoothing things over. I hope that others read my review and protect themselves from his manipulative ways.