Homeowner says Lowe’s failed to complete pricey home improvement

An elderly woman in Pentwater is threatening legal action against Lowe’s, claiming she paid nearly $80K for a home improvement project that was never completed.

PENTWATER, Michigan — 77-year-old Judy Nadeau-Zerr reached out to the 13 HELP Team in November 2023 to make us aware of an ongoing dispute with Lowe’s

At the center of the dispute is her Pentwater home and what was supposed to be a home improvement project.

“A year ago, I contracted Lowe’s for 32 windows and siding,” Judy said. “This has been going on for a little over a year.”

She showed us the receipts from November 2022 when she paid Lowe’s $43,744 for windows and $34,352 for siding.

“This house was built in 1882,” Judy said. “I’m really adamant about keeping the aesthetic value of the house.”

According to her documents, the contractors started the project in April 2023 — and she said the work was less than impressive.

Homeowner says Lowe’s failed to complete pricey home improvement

“I quickly discovered that the workmanship was totally substandard,” Judy said. “In chatting with the gal that was in charge of the siding, she knew that I was a senior citizen and recently widowed. And I just feel that I was taken advantage of because there was no man around. I hate to say that because I’m not chauvinistic, but there was not a man around to oversee things, and every question I had came back with ‘No, we can’t do that because it’s not part of the house,’ or ‘It’s not in the contract,’ that type of thing.”

Judy took us on a tour of her home, which is just a few blocks from Lake Michigan, pointing out what she said was a botched installation and an incomplete job. 

32 windows in total were purchased from Lowe’s, but at least eight of them were never unwrapped and are now sitting inside her garage. As for the ones that did get installed, Nadeau-Zerr said they were not done properly.

“They’re not insulated, and they’re not trimmed out,” she said. “Not only do I get a draft, and you know we live in Michigan and it’s winter, but I’m getting dust. I Swiffer my floors, and it’s just black.”

Fed up with the poor workmanship, Judy said she visited her local Lowe’s to file a complaint.

“They couldn’t even find my records on the computer because these people had told Lowe’s that the installation was complete,” she said.

At that point, Judy said she wasn’t sure how to handle the situation. On August 16, 2023, she received an email from Lowe’s which also stated the window installation was complete and reminded her about the 1-year labor warranty. That same month, her son Noel Nadeau came to visit from Texas.

“The first day I was here, I didn’t even notice that she had resided in the house,” Noel said. “I was walking around and I saw shims sticking out of windows and everything. It occurred to me that I hadn’t been to Michigan in probably the last seven years or so. And I just kind of asked ‘What’s going on here?’”

Noel said after seeing the state of the house he started to push his mom towards finding a resolution. 

The two sent a letter to Lowe’s corporate demanding a resolution and threatening legal action. In response, they said Lowe’s hired a home inspector to visit the Pentwater home and determine how to proceed.

“Lowe’s had asked him if there was siding on the house and if windows had been replaced,” Noel said. “He wasn’t asked to inspect the quality of the installation or anything of that nature.”

At that point, Lowe’s sent Judy a letter thanking her for the opportunity to respond to the concerns. In the letter, Lowe’s offered to compensate Judy in the amount of $10,756 or have the original installers come back to fix the issues and finish the job. Judy declined the offer.

“I did not want those people back on my property,” Judy said.

As for the $10,756, she said that was not nearly enough money.

“The gentleman that was working across the street said he would be glad to fix it, because he said he didn’t want anyone thinking that he had done this work,” Judy said.

She got a quote from that contractor who was working on her neighbor’s home. The total cost for labor materials came to $62,175. Judy and Noel said they provided this information to Lowe’s as a possible solution, but Lowe’s was not interested and did not go for it.

That’s when the 13 HELP Team got involved. We reached out to Lowe’s corporate, and they sent us the following statement.

“The satisfaction of our customers is our top priority and Lowe’s would like to complete the installation of Ms. Nadeau-Zerr’s windows and address her concerns. Since April we have tried to contact the customer but have not received a response. While installing her windows, workers found unexpected damage and notified her that it needed to be corrected to complete the window installation. Lowe’s workers and contractors are not licensed to do structural work, and it was beyond the scope of the agreement. The project is 60% finished with the materials needed to complete the installation on site at her property. Once Ms. Nadeau-Zerr has the structural damage repaired and provides Lowe’s with her approval, we will complete the project.”

We read this statement to Judy and Noel, to which they laughed and said they were never made aware of any structural damage.

“I’ve tried to keep my sense of humor about it, but I’m just at a loss,” Judy said. “I don’t know what to do.”

“It makes me angry,” Noel said. “I’d like to have the opportunity to treat somebody in power the way they’ve treated my mother.”

After the 13 HELP Team got involved with this matter, Lowe’s agreed to send a new contractor to the home. That contractor is expected to arrive in the first few weeks of 2024.

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