WOODHAVEN HOMES, D/FW TEXAS!!!This page is dedicated to finding and helping other unhappy Woodhaven Homes customers.If you are an unhappy customer of another homebuilder, you can find information useful in filing complaints against your builder.Be sure to write about your unhappy homeowner experience by clicking on the link to the left. If you would like this information emailed directly to you with links, please email me at:
woodhavenhomeshelpdfw (at) yahoo (dot) com
It is helpful to check each item off as it is completed.
1) WRITE TO YOUR BUILDER ABOUT ALL THE DEFECTS & ISSUES - Make letters as brief and factual as possible. Photos or repair estimates, engineer's reports, etc., can help. Request a written reply within 14 days. SEND LETTER CERTIFIED RETURN RECEIPT MAIL so there is no doubt that they received it. KEEP ORIGINALS OF EVERYTHING and only give out copies. Never let anyone take your originals!
2) CREATE A PAPER TRAIL - Keep track of appointments, broken appointments, items that need repair, dates, times and names of the people you spoke with. Email is a very effective way to create a paper trail. After telephone conversations follow up with a letter detailing the phone conversation. Make a list of contact information for the builder, warranty company, useful individuals at government agencies, etc. The paper trail will be a valuable tool if you need to prove you have made every effort to contact the company. Also, a paper trail is important if you are filing with government agencies or have to file suit.
3) RESEARCH - Many builders claim you are their only unhappy customer. This is rarely true. Message boards and other consumer sites may also have complaints about your builder. County or state court records may reveal whether the builder has been sued or indicate whether or not he paid his subs. County tax appraisal records will give you information about the builder's properties, such as the name of the current owner which could help you find other unhappy homeowners. Some states or counties have online sites to search for public records. Blackbook Online and Virtual Gumshoe below have much to search through.
http://www.daypop.com - for searching news articles
FEE BASED SEARCHES:
http://publicdata.com/ $25.00 for 250 searches - Database searches for various States include: Criminal Court, Civil Court, Driver's License, Voter Registration, Sex Offender, License Plate or VIN, Professional License and Misc.
Federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which backs FHA loans, maintains a list of builders/companies that have been issued a "Limited Denial of Participation". This means that there has been a problem with the builder sufficient to move a federal agency into temporarily banning them. This is a good place to search even if you do not have an FHA loan, because finding your builder on the list could be supportive of your case. The list is not updated very often, so it's a good idea to check with HUD and see if your builder is "LDPed" or not. Ask if your builder has been banned either permanently or temporarily.
4) AVOID BINDING ARBITRATION - This is a process where the builder or warranty company often picks the allegedly neutral arbitrator, but you will almost certainly pay for it. You will have given up your right to appeal, sue, or even talk about your case to anyone again, and your complaint will not be available to the researching public, nor will it be counted in the builder's statistics reflecting"customer satisfaction." Read the Consumer Reports article on arbitration, which only scratches the surface of the abuses of this method of dispute resolution:
5) COMPLAIN TO YOUR LENDER - Research suggests that HUD (FHA), provides the most protection of all loan types, mainly if the home is new and 90% or more financed.FHA - Title 24 of the Code of Federal Regulations 203.204g, states that arbitration is one of many options for dispute settlement. You can retain your right to sue or pursue the complaint thru HUD/FHA and not be forced into arbitration. HUD can also disciplined builders so they cannot sell to FHA customers.It is important to follow up online/email complaints with a written letter sent via regular mail particularly if you do not receive a confirmation that your complaint was received.If you have FHA, file your complaint with HUD.
You can print a copy of the FEDERAL BENEFITS MANUAL at http://www.va.gov
File a complaint here: http://www.homeloans.va.gov/contact.htm
Also, file a complaint with the Inspector General on the IG HOTLINE:
6) HIRE YOUR OWN EXPERTS, to support your case. An inspector or engineer can write a report on your house's defects which is going to be more accurate and complete than the claims made by those representing the builder/warranty company's side, in most cases. Most repair companies will do free estimates. Your state's Health Dept. or Dept. of Environmental Quality may be able to recommend a reputable mold testing company. Be persistent, and be sure to get names and direct numbers to any government employee who is knowledgeable and helpful to you so you can easily contact them again.
7) FILE COMPLAINTS
A) Your State's Attorney General
The National Association of Attorneys General
Attorney General of Texas
Consumer Protection Division
PO Box 12548
Austin, TX 78711-2548
www.oag.state.tx.us (online complaint form)
Keep it short and to the point. Make sure you explain how you would like the problem resolved. You may send copies of your documents along with a print-out of your complaint. If they receive enough complaints, they are more likely to investigate. They also handle claims of false advertising and deceptive trade practices.
B) Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Ave, NW
Washington, D.C. 20580
www.ftc.gov (online complaint form)
Submit a complaint about your builder to the FTC. This is the only way our elected officials will take action. You may receive a form letter stating that then cannot help you. However, it is the number of complaints filed is that eventually begins an investigation. The FTC handles claims of false advertising and deceptive trade practices. If you were promised one thing and then that changed, write to them about those details.
C) Better Business Bureau
www.bbb.org/ (online complaint form)
They are usually little help, but some agencies require you file there, so file. They deal with false advertising, warranty problems & misrepresentation.
D) City Officials including Mayor, City Council Members, Building Inspector, Head of Engineering, Planning and Zoning Officials, City Manager, City Attorney, etc.
E) National & Local Trade Organizations
National Association of Home Builders
1201 15th St, NW
Washington, DC 20005
To report product failure and construction defects write to:
NAHB Research Center
400 Prince George's Blvd.
Upper Marlboro, MD 20774-8731
Texas Association of Builders
510 W. 15th Street
Austin, Texas 78701
(800) 252-3625 toll free
Home Builders Association of Greater Dallas
5816 West Plano Parkway
Plano, Texas 75093
Greater Fort Worth Builders Association
6464 Brentwood Stair Road
Fort Worth, TX 76112
8) CONTACT CONSUMER PROTECTION ADVOCATES - Tell your story and find others with the same problem--even with complaints against the same companies.
HomeOwners for Better Building
Janet Ahmad, President
Homeowners Against Deficient Dwellings
Bad Business Bureau (a.k.a. Rip Off Report)
Contractors From Hell
If you submit a complaint to any online consumer sites, keep a copy of it for your records, update it when there have been new developments, and remember to keep it factual, and as brief as possible.
9) WRITE TO POLITICIANS - write one letter, copy and paste to the addresses/emails of each. (include your full name, address and phone number in all correspondence)
A) GovernorNational Governors Association
B) CongressUS Representatives
State SenateTexas State Senate
10) CONSULT WITH LEGAL PROFESSIONALS - Laws regarding who you can sue, and for what, vary by state. Some County Bar Associations offer free consultations.
List of Bar Associations
LegalLines: On the 2nd and 3rd Wednesday of each month, The Dallas Bar Association sponsors a telephone hotline, where volunteers attorneys will answer your legal questions for FREE. Lines are answered from 5:15 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. There are Spanish-speaking attorneys available each night. The telephone number to call is (214) 220-7476. *Callers are welcome to call with ANY kind of legal questions.
If you do not have an attorney and think you have a legal problem, the answer may be as convenient as your telephone. The Lawyer Referral Service of Tarrant County is here to help you. Simply dial 817.336.4101, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. That number will place you in direct contact with the Lawyer Referral Service, maintained as a public service by the Tarrant County Bar Association. Or, you can email your request to Bette Alexander at firstname.lastname@example.org.
LegalLine a bi-monthly free service -- 817.335.1239
11) MEDIA - If your builder is still building in your area, the media can be very effective. Be sure that you do so within the law. Signs on your yard, if allowed, must meet legal and Homeowner Association guidelines, complaints must be true, wording carefully done to protect yourself. Some homeowners have been sued for saying things like, "This Builder Builds Terrible homes," but not for saying "I'm unhappy with my new home." Making use of free legal consultations or internet research on your state's laws will be useful.
WFAA Channel 8
KXAS Channel 5
KDFW Channel 4
KTVT Channel 11
Fort Worth Star Telegram
Dallas Morning News
C) RadioKRLD 1080
The Home Show with Tom Tynan
12) DON'T GIVE UP! Builders and warranty companies use a very effective tool called the "Wearing Down Process." Most people give up and they hope you will too.
TELL YOUR STORY HERE!!
View Other Unhappy Homeowner Stories Here