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Question DetailsAsked on 10/12/2017

Cancelling a Foundation repair agreement

Wed. 10/11 @ 3 PM: I signed a Foundation $8,000 repair agreement through DocuSign. It was written as “Lifetime Transferable Warranty".

After that, my neighbor advised me that I should read a detailed warranty clause.

Same day @ 7 PM: I emailed to the company if I can I see the warranty clause. And then, I emailed again to hold on the agreement.

The next day at 9:16 AM: The company sent me a copy of warranty. And it says: “Limited Lifetime transferrable warranty". The warranty will be void if I fail on maintenance provisions, such as watering, drainage, tree removals. Also, after 2 years, the repair cost will be $150.00 per pier.

Thur. 10/12 at 9:17 AM: The company sent me as: “We can put the project on hold for a short time. However, since you already signed the agreement we’ve engaged with the engineer and applied for the city permit. So we’ve already about $600 into the project.”

Question: Do I have to pay $600.00 to the company if I decide not to work with the company?

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A lot depends on the contract terms - but first thing I would do is read up on the federal 3-day cooling off period, which applies if the "sale" was made at your home. Whether actually signing it remotely would negate that or not I can't say - that sort of interpretation is what keeps attorneys in business.


The fact what you signed said "Lifetime Transferable Warranty" and what you received said "Limited Lifetime Transferable Warranty" would not, to me, be a valid reason to cancel - if the contract said something like "Unlimited Lifetime Warranty" and the actual one had limitations yes, but otherwise not so, in my opinion. Essentially all warranties are limited in transferability, time, types or causes of failures they cover, amortiztion of the warranty benefits, etc. Of course, 20-20 hindsight - you should have reviewed the warranty BEFORE signing the contract.


That sounds like typical pretty worthless warranty phrasing - essentially putting in maintenance requirements which most people would not do or would not be able to document that they did such that it leaves them an out in the event of a claim. Most such warranties are not worth the paper they are written on - but unless it provides (oir has attached) DETAILED and reasonable and technically-supportable steps you have to take to avoid the problem cropping back up, such a requirement would not carry any weight. What you have to do for maintenance/ preventation has to be spelled out in detail - it can't just say "everything necessary to prevent damage to or deterioration of the anchor system, as I have seen before - because you cannot prevent normal in-ground corrosion or freezing or earth settlement for instance. Plus, to a large extent, the $150 deductible per pier basically makes this a 2 year warranty in effect, so not worth much to my mind - not that you can expect more from other contractors.


Unfortunately, sounds like your objection is a bit after the fact - you ask if you will have to pay the $600 "if I decide not to work with the company". Hate to say it, but when you signed the repair agreement you had already decided to and committed to work with them - backing out now (unless covered by federal or an equivalent state 3-day waiting period requirement) is likely to make you responsible for their costs on the job to dte - and possibly to a cancellation fee as well. I have never heard of permit fees being refunded - but if you do decide to cancel then telling them to cancel the engineer's work might reduce his billing, depending on whether he has started work or not.


Certainly if you intend to back out, you have only a day or so to either contact an attorney about your options here or to try to cancel under the 3-day cooling-off period provision if applicable - be sure to notify them prioperly per the requirements of the applicable law or regulation. Federal info below - google if there is a similar one in your state like if you live in California for instance -


https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles...


One other thing - IF you are covered under the 3-day rule (which it sounds like would likely be the case if he came and gave a presentation or proposal at your house, as opposed to it all being done on-line or by phone) then if he failed to give you the required disclosures about your eligibility for this cancellation event he 3-day limit may not apply, depending on case specifics.


Obviously, you need to decide if you have good reason to cancel this contractor, and if you do (assuming you do believe he can do the job correctly and the warranty is the only holdup) cancel him, what it is going to cost in cancellation fee PLUS any additional cost/effort to get another contractor in to do the presumably necessary repair.


Good Luck

Answered 1 year ago by LCD




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