Target 8: Unfinished deck puts family in danger

Target 8

EVART, Mich. (WOOD) — A Evart family says their botched Lowe’s project is putting them in danger.

Andy Phelps’ family ordered and paid for a wheelchair-accessible deck for their home in May, but work still isn’t finished.

“It’s not safe. If there’s a fire, I’d like to be able to get out on this side of the house,” Andy Phelps told Target 8.

“I let Lowe’s know that and I got no response. I let them know that again, and still no response about that. So apparently they don’t care,” said Gladys Phelps.

They relied on a big-name national chain to get the job done right, ordering a nearly $30,000 deck from Lowe’s.

“So you would think that it’s a reputable company. You would think that, OK, here’s some place that we could go, try and find a good builder who will get this done quickly and get it done right. But it’s been the exact opposite of that,” said Andy Phelps.

Another problem: The Phelps’ ordered three sets of doors which arrived in July. The family says those doors do not comply with standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act and they’re still sitting in their garage.

“You lay awake at night if you’re going to lose all the money you paid, because it was a lot of money. We paid over $29,000 dollars for this deck,” said Gladys Phelps.

Their story sounds similar to the Ramirez’s—a Zeeland couple who contacted Target 8 after a pre-inspection revealed problems with their deck from Lowe’s. After Target 8 got involved, Lowe’s apologized and offered to refund the couple their $23,451.

These families aren’t alone. The Michigan Attorney General’s Office has taken more than 100 complaints involving Lowe’s over the past five years. But that’s only a small fraction of a percent of the 400,000 home improvement projects a Lowe’s spokesperson says they successfully completed in the same time frame in Michigan.

Still, the attorney general’s office says there’s a lesson to be learned.

“I mean you’d like to think a big corporation, a big box store has done its homework, but maybe it hasn’t. So I would not rely on anything but your own ingenuity and your own commitment to do your homework,” said Kelly Rossman-McKinney with the AG’s office.

The Phelps haven’t known who to turn to, going back and forth between Lowe’s officials and the contractor Lowe’s provided.

Rossman-McKinney says customers should remember that contractors are not employees of Lowe’s.

“So what I would recommend is you still do your homework. You check out what’s the record of that particular builder or contractor. Do they have complaints?” Rossman-McKinney asked.

When questioned by Target 8 about the Phelps’ project, Lowe’s issued a statement, saying in part, “We take all customers concerns seriously and regularly review the work of our providers to ensure they are meeting Lowe’s standards.”

The company also apologized for the issues the Phelps family has experienced saying, “We worked with them to redesign the project, and we’re doing everything we can to see it through to completion as soon as possible.”

A Lowe’s representative also went to the Phelps’ house with a new contractor, promising ADA compliant doors, a temporary wheelchair ramp for Andy before Christmas and new siding on the entire house since some of it was ruined during the whole process.

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