BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — In 2018 Clifford Braxton Sr. hired Sunroom Addtions & Improvements Inc. to install a sun room at his home. He said he found the company at the Buffalo Home Show.
"They started working on it, and all of a sudden they needed more money," said Braxton.
Braxton said the company kept running into delays, and he was told it was due to supply issues. He said the project, which he hired the company for in March, was pushed back to being completed in September.
The total cost for the sun room was quoted at $62,596, and Braxton paid $52,596.
According to legal documents, the company's president is Robert Keefe. Braxton said Keefe never finished the project at his home, but told him it was complete.
"He said that’s the way it’s supposed to be," said Braxton Sr. "I said, no, no, no, no!"
Braxton showed 7 Problem Solver Michael Schwartz the sun room. The wood floor that has water stains throughout it. Braxton told Schwartz that he was going to install carpet himself, but he can't due to water continuing to get on the wood. He said the company didn't seal the room right, and pointed out areas near the door frame where he said water gets in.
Braxton also said the windows don't close properly, and he was under the impression that the windows would be glass and not a plastic material. A beam is buckling, and a second door doesn't have stairs leading to it.
"What do I do now?. . . I called Channel 7 and got an investigative reporter out here," said Braxton.
Schwartz obtained Erie County documents that showed Keefe has a history of financial troubles. Multiple judgments show a bank, insurance agency and loan company have all went after Keefe, over the past four years, for more than $70,000 that they claim he owed.
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court Western District also confirmed to Schwartz that Keefe filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and that case closed last year.
So what options do you have if a company you hire has financial troubles and doesn't complete a job, or even files for bankruptcy?
"In the instance where it's a contractor, the first remedy you would be looking at is your own homeowners insurance," said Michael Weishaar, a bankruptcy attorney at Gleichenhaus, Marchese & Weishaar in downtown Buffalo. "They may be able to provide you with monetary relief, or assistance with counsel."
Weishaar said another route is hiring an attorney, but it's not an easy road. He told Schwartz each situation is different, but sometimes a company has overextended itself so much financially, that it no longer has anything to liquidate.
"Often times you will find there's no pot of gold at end of rainbow," said Weishaar. He said filing bankruptcy looks to give every party involved a fair chance.
The current manager of the Buffalo Home Show told Schwartz that this is the first time she heard about Braxton's situation, and commented:
We are sorry to hear about the situation with Sunroom Additions & Improvements as your email is the first we have heard of this situation. While I was not the Show Manager on this show at that time, I assure you that when we’re made aware of a negative post-show experience with an exhibitor, we consider whether the circumstances warrant taking action to protect future guests. In some instances, we’ll prohibit the company from appearing at any of our events in the future. Sunroom Additions & Improvements started exhibiting in our Buffalo show back in 2008. They last participated in our show in 2019. We didn’t receive any complaints from our show attendees about the company during this time.
For almost 80 years, the Buffalo Home Show has worked hard to showcase the best local home improvement companies and experts in the area. This might mean considering BBB ratings, Google reviews, and/or Yelp reviews for new exhibitors who join our shows and taking into account prior consumer complaints brought to our attention when renewing existing exhibitors. Further, MPE reserves the right to disqualify exhibitors when we are made aware of reputational issues, which we will do in this case, now that we have been made aware of this situation.
If you have a consumer issue you need help looking into, email Michael at 7ProblemSolvers@WKBW.com