granite transformations of san antonio, tx., buyers beware

DHDCFOctober 4, 2012

*** BUYERS BEWARE *** A long read, but if you plan to do business with Granite Transformations (GT) of San Antonio, TX, please read. Some of it doesn't flow as well I had hoped, but you will get the gist, which is BUYERS BEWARE.

We've had just an awful and unfortunate experience with Mel and Jeanette Esperza - husband and wife team - of Granite Transformations in San Antonio, TX. We feel Mel has been deceitful in our transactions; I have emails that substantiate most of my claims. I've also had family members present during both home visits, one visit was with me and my 18 year old son, and the most recent was with my wife and 16 year old daughter - his demeanor, behavior and escalated voice during that visit lead to both my wife and daughter fearing the worst - he was eventually asked to leave our home. It began a couple of weeks ago when we contacted him to overlay our kitchen island. During our email transactions I stated to him we're interested in purchasing a new delta faucet, to which he replied "I found a delta pull down for 300.00 with my discount". We were sent a price estimate, which included the Delta faucet, and agreed to purchase. A few days later we met at my home for measurements.

During the meeting Mel stated he would install the new Delta faucet and "round" the granite edges for free; for safety reasons, all of our granite has rounded corners. In front of my son - who I introduced to Mel and was present for the entire transaction - he said "I will take care of that for you for free". My son and I both were amazed at the level of CS and extremely thankful. I signed the contract. I now feel that was deceitful business practice.

Later that day I spoke of his kind gesture to several of my colleagues. Then later that evening I researched the faucet model number he had annotated on the contract - the faucet was NOT the Delta upon which we agreed. The faucet listed on the contract was a 200.00 Price Pfister - not the 300.00 Delta. I contacted Mel through email and brought this to his attention - I asked for clarification and added that we discussed Delta in several emails (to include a pricing email from Jeantte which reflects Delta faucet for 300 + 25 tax). He responded with just the following comment: "If you found a Price Pfister GT534-CMS for $200.00, go ahead and order it and we will install it". He did not apologize for having me sign a contract that I believed included a Delta faucet, nor did he apologize for having me sign a contract that should have been be at least 100.00 cheaper, nor did he create a new contract. I responded and told him it was a surprise to find a different faucet on the contract, yet no mention from him, and no price adjustment. I also asked if we bought a faucet ourselves, should we now expect to pay 325.00 less - he replied and said yes, we can pay 325.00 less. Had I not researched the faucet model, would I have paid for the delta? I 100% believe we would have.

Island countertop was installed on 26 Sep. Installer arrived at 0900, but advised us that the overlay would not fit (yet Mel states later that he inspects all pieces before they leave the warehouse). Installers state they would be back in 'a couple of hours', which turns in to 4.5. No problem, they stayed late and finished the job. We told them they did a good job and we liked it - reality was they did an OK job and we DIDN'T like it (burned thru the "granite" in several places, legs were just glued on and not dried when they left - I touched the leg and it slid out from under the island). We don't feel comfortable addressing negative concerns with installers...we prefer to speak to the managers or owners. The installers stated to us that they couldn't get a hold of anyone, and that we should expect to hear from Mel the next day.

The edges are not rounded as Mel told me and my son that he would do. But Mel now claims that he stated to me that he would SOFTEN the edges. Mel denies telling me and my son that he would round the edges. Had he told me he would SOFTEN them I would have inquired on what SOFTEN means. Regardless, they are not rounded or soft - they are as if they are sawed through each corner's 90 angle overlay, creating a flat edge with two corners - nothing is soft or rounded. It turns out, after speaking to the boss - who also happens to be his wife - that they don't soften corners, they BULLDOG them (I think it is basically how they are now) and that the overlay granite is IMPOSSIBLE to round or soften - yet Mel told us he would round them. Had Mel been honest and told me upfront that they cannot be rounded, I would not have signed contract - we feel this was deceitful practice and a violation of the Consumer Bill of Rights - particularly "The Right to be Informed" AND was done so in an attempt make a sale.

Mel told us he would install the faucet, plus the installers UN-installed the existing faucet - we thought they would install the faucet but they informed us that they don't install faucets. After the overlay installation we did not pay the remaining balance as we were still waiting on the faucet install. Mel contacted me on 27 Sep and stated "Plumbing was not included or ever discussed". I then responded and quoted his email where he states he would install the faucet. My wife called Mel on 28 Sep to discuss all of these concerns and he told her that when he said he would install the faucet that he meant he would cut a hole in the granite for it. Again, we view this as deceitful practice and violating "The Right to be Informed". How many customers would think installing a faucet equates to drilling a hole for one? Drilling a hole and installing a faucet are certainly not one in the same to me or ANY of the 15 or so people with whom I've shared this story. Mel offered to reduce the price by 100.00 to cover the cost of the faucet install and agreed to meet her at our home to further discuss.

On 1 Oct Mel visited my wife and daughter at our home; she wanted to discuss some of our concerns. Mel became what appeared to be very angry...boisterous...raising his voice...and at one point started to approach my wife in a manner that scared her and my daughter. My wife had to ask him to step back, and eventually had to ask him to leave.

I spoke to Mel's "boss" regarding most of this, only to find arrogant, cold, empty, and argumentative responses. She "apologized" when I told her that Mel scared my wife and daughter, but it lacked any and all sincerity and she sounded like I was annoying her. She told me she would review all of the emails and call me that evening. She didn't call until the next day when she threatened to place a lien on our home should we not pay the balance of 697.00. I emailed her back and offered to split the final costs. I offered, but we are victims of deceitful and unruly business practice - I don't feel we owe them anything at all, let alone 697.00. I feel they owe us a complete refund as we feel we've been deceived and tricked into buying something for which we did not agree.

Mel emailed back and said not only are they NOW NOT going to discount the 100.00 we paid to have the faucet installed, that we now owe them the FULL 797.00 and that they "will go forward with our procedures to collect this debt". He has reneged on the 100.00 discount - this is par for course.

We are contacting multiple organizations that protect people in our situation. I have emails and witnesses. Hopefully with the number of agencies we're contacting that someone SOMEWHERE can help us. We're also filing an incident report with a local department - Mel's behavior in our home must be documented.

Bottom line - buyers beware. Yes, I should have performed more research before hiring them - GT is blasted all over the internet - many of their locations are blasted. They keep saying "you signed the contract" and "we have a contract - you owe us", but emails and meetings after the fact supersede the contract imo and at minimum are recognized and honored as addendums to contracts. We didn't get what we ALL understood we were getting.

We will do our part to ensure consumers, agencies, departments, and organizations are made aware of our experience with GT during the past few weeks.

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No mention of an attny, which should have been your first call.
Notifying "various" consumer advocate agencies is simply raising a ruckus and while it may make you feel good, what part of the business and professional code do you think they can enforce?

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 11:04AM
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Response from Granite Transformations:

This will be a long post so I apologize in advance. I feel we must defend ourselves and let our side of the story be known. It is very unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation.

Per the customers request, we went out to their home for a bid since they had seen our product on the internet. The customer, requested Nero Stella, Mel asked if he wanted to visit our showroom since they had
never seen the product installed, he declined stating they had seen our sample pictures on our website. Mel took several 12x12 samples including the Nero Stella that they had picked from the internet.

1) The husband signed a binding contract to extend the island and picked the color all without the presence of his wife.
2) Soft corners were discussed with the customer and illustrated on their island how we make them at a 45 degree angle due to the concerns of his wife. It is physically impossible to round or curve a small corner with our product.
3) Contracts were signed with a commercial grade Price Pfister faucet included in the price of the install that had previously been discussed with the husband over the phone.
4) Our product was installed according to the contract and our installer asked both Mr. and Mrs. to do the final inspection of our install.
5) They both said it was good and thanked our installers. The completion form specifically states that "if you are completely satisfied" then please sign the form below. The customer signed the Completion and Payment form.
6) They did not make the final payment and our installers cleaned up and left their home. To our knowledge, and to our installers knowledge, he did not pay the final amount ONLY due to the confusion with plumbing. At no time during the installation process did he express any concerns or problems with the product to either the installer or management.
7) I called the customer Friday after the install to collect the final payment. She stated that the install was not complete because the plumbing had not been done.
8) I explained to her that plumbing was not part of the contract and was never mentioned.
9) To resolve this issue, I offered to send out our plumber because of the misunderstanding, but she said no that she would get a plumber to install the plumbing over the weekend. I offered a $100 discount to resolve this issue and set a meeting for Monday at 11:30pm.
And she accepted my offer.
10) I met with the wife and she stated that she did not like our product and the soft corners and that laminate looked better than our granite.
11) To be honest, this did irritate me and I explained to her that our granite was far superior to the granite that she had installed on the rest of their kitchen.
12) She asked if the soft corners could be fixed and I said no that a whole new top would have to be made and that we had delivered exactly what the contract stated.
13) She told me that her husband and son said that we would install rounded corners which is not possible due to the thickness of our product. I never mentioned rounded corners.
14) I asked her for final payment and she said no. I said that was fine and gathered my things and started leaving the house. I explained to her that we had procedures that we follow with certified mail and if we do not get paid, we turn it over to our lawyer.
15) By this time I was outside and she followed me and was screaming at me from her drive way that she would "blast me all over the internet" and I responded that we would get to respond also.
16) She was the one that was threating me.
17) He later offered to pay half of the final bill. I responded that the final install price was non-negotiable.
18) He then agreed to send in the final payment and "blast us all over the internet" which they have done.
19) He chose the product and color without her approval or presence.
20) I asked more than once for them to come and visit our showroom to view our products prior to install date which he declined to do so.

The product was chosen by them from a picture of a sample on our website and they declined our offers to come in to our show room to see the product in person. They signed a completion form stating that they were completely satisfied and complimented the product to both our installers, to which they admit doing in their review. The only reason given to our installers as to why a final payment was not made was because of the confusion with the plumbing to which we promptly resolved. At no time during the installation were our installers made aware of any problems with the work performed or the product itself. She simply did not like the product once she saw it installed which is also the first time either of them had seen it in person, other than the 12x12 sample pieces that were shown to the husband during the bid process. This is the reason we asked them numerous times to come in to our showroom to view our product.

Again, its unfortunate that it has come to this. We did everything we stated we would do in our contract. Granite Countertops are custom made and its not a simple task of "returning" them for a refund. We ask all of our customers to come in to our showroom to see our products installed to ensure that our product is to their liking. They never came in to our showroom to do so and his wife was not present during the bid/contract signing process. The issue is not that it was a shoddy installation or a shoddy product. It was a great installation and a great product that Mr. and Mrs. admitted to agreeing to our installers in their review and signed a form stating everything was done to their satisfaction. The husband decided on the product and color on his own and the wife did not like the color or product itself after it was installed, which again, was the first time she had ever seen it.

We take our reputation very seriously and feel we have been unjustly "blasted" by this customer. We have an A+ rating with the BBB and we try our best to satisfy our customers. Again, this is a very unfortunate situation but we feel the need to defend our reputation, both business and personal, from these unjust reviews.

Thank you

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 2:54PM
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What would Judge Judy say?

I don't think Gardenweb is the appropriate forum.

Good luck to both of you!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 10:02PM
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I agree that this is not the proper forum. Good read though...sounds like the husband picked something out without consulting the wife first...Did you just get married because that is the dumbest thing a husband could do...take it as a lesson learned!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2012 at 5:23PM
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Granite Transformations is a franchise. I would get in touch with the main headdquarters. There may have been other complaints similar to yours. They can lose their franchise if they don't meet their contracted agreement with the parent company. I would think customer service requirements would be included in that agreement. This is very unfortunate. Don't let them bully you.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 7:55AM
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jersey, why are you assuming the company is at fault? I am not saying either one is lying but to make that assumption I do not feel is correct or fair.

    Bookmark   October 13, 2012 at 10:53AM
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Since the OP has not been back leads one to wonder, if they may have discovered the down side to slander, without the benefit of adjudication.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 4:17AM
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Exactly, and I am pretty dam sure the truth is somewhere in between.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2012 at 8:35AM
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