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Contractor files big claim for bad Yelp review

Original post made on Feb 28, 2011

Online reviews are a fact of life for today's businesses, but one local story illustrates how some are coming to grips with the effects of a bad review.


Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, February 28, 2011, 10:41 AM

Comments (13)

Posted by Spaghetti Freddie, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 28, 2011 at 11:32 am

The $30,000 for 3 months of her life that she will never get back was all I needed to know. After you start throwing around punitive damage type stuff, it's pretty hard to argue you're benevolence.


Posted by BD, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 28, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Well now there's even more information about these guys on the internet, even if the arbitrator has them take the yelp review down. Maybe they should have quit while they were ahead.


Posted by Kathy, a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 28, 2011 at 3:07 pm

When you call in the lawyers, everyone loses, except the lawyers, bad move on Amini's part. The Craftsmen Guild has all 4 and 5 star reviews, why draw attention to the only negative review.


Posted by Lori, a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Most of us living grew up on lead based paint, mercury fillings, toxic fumes etc. There is never going to be a germ or toxic free zone at this point. That is why the regulators have established "safe limits" of the various chemicals in the soil and water. Broom clean does not mean soil contamination removal. If she is that concerned about it she should have hired an enviornmentalist to clean it up before beginning construction.
I wonder if she dines in restaurants or uses a cell phone?


Posted by Ronn K, a resident of Jackson Park
on Feb 28, 2011 at 11:08 pm

Yelp provides a platform for bad customers to write bad reviews about businesses. They promote negative reviews of companies through their rating system by only allowing customers to say "cool" "funny" or "helpful" about reviews that people write. What happened to reviewing the review like on Amazon.com? Check out www.thereviewbuster.com for reputation defender and reputation management services


Posted by Mr. DePortum, a resident of Blossom Valley
on Mar 1, 2011 at 3:26 am

Another Money grabbing scheme.


Posted by Dr. Collateral Damage, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 1, 2011 at 1:25 pm

Which one is the worst? Lead-based paint, mercury fillings, toxic fumes, or cell-tower radiation?


Posted by Hardin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I think the homeowner is stretching the facts to serve her interests.

Note that the lead consultant she hired prefaces their statement with "It is LCD's opinion...", while the lead consultant for the contractor cites that lead levels in the soil do not exceed regulatory limits that would require action.

Anyone can have an opinion, but adherence to regulatory limits is the determining factor in establishing liability.

Furthermore, the burden of proof is on the homeowner to show that the lead level in the soil came from the construction debris, and not from existing contamination before construction started. In a pre 1930's home, there is ample opportunity for lead contamination to occur before this construction project started. To prove her case, she would have needed to test the soil before construction, which doesn't appear to have happened.

Also, her reliance to the clause in the contract of a "broom clean" condition is standard boiler plate language on all construction contracts and is not intended to cover hazardous material levels. If this was a specific concern of hers, then she should have added specific language in the contract to cover it.

Finally, it's never a good idea to mix a major renovation project with other life changing events, like the birth of a child. Construction projects nearly always run over schedule, and/or over budget for a variety of reasons (Owner changes, weather, material delivery, etc...)


Posted by DCS, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 2, 2011 at 1:16 pm

@Hardin- it seems there was lead testing performed before the project began, see below:

"He also pointed to a 2008 lead assessment conducted for the property which found similar amounts of lead in the soil before the project began."

Looks like the homeowners have buyers regret - they should have bought new construction instead.


Posted by Hardin, a resident of Cuesta Park
on Mar 2, 2011 at 4:07 pm

Good catch, I missed that. It would seem the homeowner has little to stand on, at least in mediation.

That makes the negative Yelp entry a cheap shot. Being unhappy about the results is one thing, but if the contractor performed to the contract requirements, its dishonest to misrepresent their performance in Yelp simply because you are unhappy.

To put it plainly, I think the contractor may have failed to manage the clients expectations, but succeeded in complying with the contract.


Posted by Ania Mitros, a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 7, 2011 at 7:36 am

My disappointment with Craftsmen's Guild extends beyond the lead issue. The lead situation was not my only complaint; it was one of many. My yelp review mentioned some of the others.

Lori - Our contract also stated that "All of the construction debris shall be removed by Contractor". I'm not aware of any lead in the soil that needed cleaning up before Craftsmen's Guild's construction, and the heating ducts that contained lead dust were installed by Craftsmen's Guild. Based on my previous experiences with contractors, I expected much less debris to be left behind.

Hardin - I agree with your sentiment that mixing renovation and the birth of a child isn't a good idea; ironically, that was a major factor in hiring Craftsmen's Guild. We had been fixing up our house bit by bit when we discovered that I was pregnant. After my first conversation with Mike Amini (Craftsmen's Guild's architect), I was under the impression that they would complete the remodel very close to my son's birth. This was a big factor in my decision to hire Craftsmen's Guild. I did not expect construction to be wrapping up when my son was 4 months old.

DCS & Hardin - What worried me wasn't the average lead concentration; it was the bite-size pieces of lead paint where my toddler plays. I tried to clean up the debris myself but after hours picking out bits of tile and paint chips from the soil I felt futile. I asked Craftsmen's Guild for help but they curtly declined. I spent hours on the phone trying to figure out what to do, and ultimately hired a lead assessor on the recommendation of the California Department of Public Health, and followed the assessor's recommendations. I did my best.

I do not believe I misrepresented the situation, and I have offered to revise my review, but Craftsmen's Guild has offered no specific re-wordings other than complete removal of the review.


Posted by Andrea Gemmet, Mountain View Voice Editor
on Mar 7, 2011 at 10:01 am

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

The following comment has been moved from a duplicate thread, which is now closed:

Wow, the behavior of the contractor is disgusting. Offering to pay $5000 to take down a bad review is really demonstrative of their guilt, not to mention that there's irrefutable evidence of the presence of lead. There is nothing worse than a business who mucks up a job, THEN bullies the customer with threats and extortions and lawsuits.
by Monica Mar 1, 2011 at 5:54 pm


Posted by A. Palled, a resident of Old Mountain View
on Mar 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm

wow. i wonder how many other customers they managed to keep quiet through lawsuits?


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