The Smyth family from Tampa, Florida have been battling the home improvement giant Lowe’s as they seek compensation for a home in which they can no longer live. Three years ago the family paid Lowe’s $83,00 in full and upfront to remodel their kitchen and flooring. Today they’ve had to gut almost their entire home.
Only a few months into the renovation job, Rick Smyth saw that the grout was bubbling up. This issue morphed into mold and moisture problems that affected nearly every other part of their house. Everything but the bedrooms had to be torn out.
Despite the fact that the Smyth family paid Lowe’s directly for the renovation, as is detailed in their contract, Lowe’s originally insisted that they bring any problems to the attention of the subcontractor. When a customer hires Lowe’s for a home renovation, they use subcontractors to actually do the work. Jackie Callaway, a consumer investigator, connected this discovery with the improperly installed flooring at the Smyth residence, demonstrating that those who hire Lowe’s for renovations are not paying for Lowe’s employees to do the job.
According to the family’s lawyer, Matthew Cogburn, a Lowe’s claims adjuster sent an email putting the blame on the installer. In the reasoning of that email, the installer was under contract with Lowe’s, so the liability sits on them. The email encourages Cogburn to contact the installer’s insurance to resolve the dispute.
A spokesperson for Lowe’s claims that all of the subcontractors with whom they work must be licensed, insured, pass background checks, and follow the company’s code of conduct. The company also said that they tend to work directly with customers to resolve any issues they may have with subcontractors.
In Tampa, the Scripps station WFTS has been attempting to reach out to Lowe’s for months to get information about the Smyth’s case. After months of no response, Lowe’s now says it is working with the family’s attorney to come to a solution that is fair and reasonable. The subcontractor has directed all questions to Lowe’s and declined to comment on the case.
Every year, homeowners remodel over 14.2 million bathrooms and 10.2 million kitchens. To avoid the renovation disaster that struck the Smyth family, homeowners can use websites like that of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation to verify a contractor’s license and check their complaint record.