Hollywood woman who hired window company asks, ‘Where’s my refund?’

(WSVN) - You hire a company to do a job. You give them a deposit, and they promise it will be done within a certain time frame. If it’s not, do they have to return your deposit? It’s why one couple called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

It’s an historic neighborhood in Hollywood, meaning the homes are nice, but it also means parts of some houses need to be history.

Kris Impallomeni: “We’ve done our best to try and improve it and keep improving it and bringing it back to its glory days.”

For Kris and her husband, that meant new floors, a new fireplace, a new roof — and then, new impact-resistant windows.

Kris Impallomeni: “These are original windows that are 60-something years old. They have cranks like the old jalousie windows. I can’t open them.”

They did their research and hired a window company that came highly recommended. Last November, they signed a contract and put down a nearly $4,400 deposit.

Kris Impallomeni: “We were quite excited about doing that, because it would really help the house.”

In the contract, the company listed the impact-resistant windows would be installed in two to four months.

When they weren’t, Kris started calling the company.

Kris Impallomeni: “It said, ‘Leave a message. We will get back to you.’ No one ever did get back to me.”

In March, Kris headed to their office.

Kris Impallomeni: “I found out that nothing had been done.”

No permit had been pulled to install the windows, but Kris did leave with a promise.

Kris Impallomeni: “I’m going to put you on our priority list.’ [I asked], ‘And what does that mean?’ ‘It means you’re going to be in the top 40.'”

April rolled around.

Kris Impallomeni: “I started becoming a little concerned.”

So concerned, Kris gave up on her windows and headed back to the company.

Kris Impallomeni: “‘Nothing has happened here. There’s no permit. Why can’t I just have my money back?’ [They said], ‘Absolutely not. We don’t do that.'”

Kris wanted impact-resistant windows before hurricane season rolled around. Six months later, no new windows, no permit and no sign of her nearly $4,400 deposit.

Kris Impallomeni: “I’m a very trusting person. I called you as a last resort out of frustration, anger, disappointment.”

Well, Howard, how long do you have to wait for a company to deliver before they have to return your deposit?

Howard Finkelstein, 7News legal expert: “It all depends on the contract. If there is no time frame in the contract, the court will give the contractor a time frame considered reasonable in their industry. In this case, the contract says it will be done in two to four months. It has been six months. They have to return the deposit.”

I contacted the manager at StormGuard Window and Door. I was shocked — in a good way.

Brian Homan was perfectly blunt. He told me, “We dropped the ball. I’m not going to make any excuses. We took on too many jobs, and we’re backlogged.”

He still wanted to install the windows, but since the permit was still not approved, I asked Homan to give up on Kris’ project and return her $4,386.

He did. Kris got a cashier’s check for the full amount.

Kris Impallomeni: “I know they would not have paid if it was not for you.”

Howard Finkelstein: “If your contract does not include a time limit to complete the job, or you do not like the time frame, write it in yourself. Make sure you initial it and the contractor initials that clause. If they don’t make the deadline, they are in breach of the contract and you get your money back.”

Needless to say, Kris is glad she turned to Help Me Howard.

Kris Impallomeni: “I would say that Patrick Fraser and Help Me Howard are the reason that we had success. One thousand percent, no question in my mind, and I will forever be grateful.”

What a nice lady, and happy we could help, Kris. Now, when Howard says a company has to return your deposit if they miss your deadline, you need to be reasonable. If it’s a day or a week and the’re close to starting, give them time. And if we get hit by a hurricane or some type of problem they have no control over, like a material shortage, then they can take more time.

A problem got you feeling shuttered in? Looking for a window to a solution? Open up to us, and see if we can deliver on time — and certainly on budget, because we are free.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:
Email: helpmehoward@wsvn.com
Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com
Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN
Broward: 954-761-WSVN

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