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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Maytag 25.3 Cubic Foot Side-by-Side Stainless Steel Refrigerator (Model # MSD2576VEM)

Maytag 25.3 Cubic Foot Side-by-Side Stainless Steel Refrigerator (Model # MSD2576VEM)

We purchased a $1600 Maytag 25.3 Cubic Foot Side-by-Side Stainless Steel Refrigerator (Model # MSD2576VEM) through Home Depot's website (www.HomeDepot.com) on November 26, 2011, just over two years ago. It is now a 250 pound door stop!

A $1600 refrigerator should last more than two years and 120 days, but this one died last week when the condenser failed, an $863.46 repair. 

When I called Home Depot to see if they stood behind the faulty products they sell, I was told "we're so sorry for your troubles, let me connect you with Maytag". I told the individual that the Maytag warranty was for 12 months, parts and labor, and that my MasterCard extended warranty added an additional 12 months to the warranty, expiring less than 4 months ago. I asked again "are you going to stand behind this product" and was told "I'm sorry, but you'll have to contact Maytag" … WRONG ANSWER!

How can a $1600 appliance fail after just two years? Because it is garbage. Why will Home Depot and Maytag NOT stand behind their products? Because they can! These companies could care less that one of their products failed just as Apple Inc. could care less that their products are junk, and only because individual consumers just do not count. If I do not buy another Maytag or Home Depot product, which I will not do, it means nothing to their bottom line. They only care about large losses and knowing that people care only about themselves, they know all too well that we will not unite and boycott their products and services, so they blow us off. Being the owner of two homes, one a rental property, I spend several thousand dollars each year at Home Depot. As a Home Depot, Inc. and Maytag Corporation shareholder (large cap mutual funds), I have serious concerns when the companies I am part owner of fail customers with faulty products and poor support. You should too!

I refuse to spend another penny, much less $863.46, to repair a two-year old Maytag refrigerator which should last at least 10-15 years. This is not the first problem I have had with Home Depot and have only continued as a customer because the nearest Lowe's is over 30 miles away. This was my first Maytag appliance, even though I had heard terrible things about their products prior to purchase, AND MY LAST.

I hope I can save at least one person the same grief and expense we have suffered at the hands of Home Depot and Maytag by writing this review. Hopefully, enough people will read it and Home Depot and Maytag will get the message, but I am not counting on it because THEY DON'T CARE, THEY DON'T HAVE TO!

No surprise, BOTH REVIEWS (Home Depot and Maytag) WERE REJECTED! "Your opinion is very important to us, but ...". Give me a break! Here are the emails I received:
From: Maytag <noreply@messages.maytag.com>
Date: Friday, March 28, 2014 at 1:33 PM
To: Chris Sorrentino <combatcritic@gmail.com>
Subject: Your Review has been Rejected


Hello CombatCritic,

Your opinion is very important to us and the Maytag community. We appreciate you taking the time to write a review on Side-By-Side Refrigerator with Beverage Chillerâ≥¢ Compartment. Unfortunately your review did not meet ourguidelines for posting on our site for the following reason(s):
  • To protect your privacy, our publication guidelines do not permit the mention of such personal information as your name, phone number, email address, or postal address. Also, it does not permit the use of derogatory comments or profanity.
We encourage you to review our guidelines and resubmit your review on Side-By-Side Refrigerator with Beverage Chillerâ≥¢ Compartment.

Thanks for being an active member of the maytag community.
Team Maytag

From: The Home Depot <HomeDepotCustomerCare@email.homedepot.com>
Date: Friday, March 28, 2014 at 8:34 AM
To: Chris Sorrentino <combatcritic@gmail.com>
Subject: Your review has been rejected

Your community engagement helps other customers get the right products for their projects
Please add HomeDepotCustomerCare@email.homedepot.com to your address book. Learn how.
Home Depot

Hello CombatCritic,

Thank you for taking the time to provide your feedback about 25.3 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator in Monochromatic Stainless Steel. Your insight is very important to us and the other Home Depot customers who will read about your product experience. Unfortunately, your review did not meet our guidelines to be eligible for publication on our site. We want to post your review, so please remember to omit references to other websites and do not include URL links.
We encourage you to look over our guidelines below and resubmit your review regarding 25.3 cu. ft. Side-by-Side Refrigerator in Monochromatic Stainless Steel.

Writing Guidelines
We want to publish your review, so please follow these writing guidelines:
  • Focus on the product
  • Avoid writing about customer service issues - instead, contact us to discuss your concerns
  • Do not mention competitors or the specific price you paid
  • Do not include any personally identifiable information such as your full name or address
Thanks for being an active member of The Home Depot community.
The Home Depot Team
If you have questions regarding the submission and approval process, please call us at 1-800-466-3337 (1-800-HOME-DEPOT).
Please do not reply to this email. To contact us, click

"I am sorry to inform you Maytag and Home Depot, but" ... 
CombatCritic Gives the Maytag MSD2576VEM Refrigerator, Home Depot, and Maytag Corporation 1 Out of 10 Bombs … MORE BOMBS ARE GOOD!

Key Words: Home Depot, home, depot, Maytag 25.3 Cubic Foot Side-by-Side Stainless Steel Refrigerator Model # MSD2576VEM, Maytag, Side-by-Side, Stainless, Steel, Refrigerator, Model, MSD2576VEM, CombatCritic, combat, critic

Monday, January 27, 2014

Apple ... Lacks Integrity, Extremly Poor Customer Service

On a recent trip to Puerto Rico to film a travel video and review hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions, my iPhone died mid-trip. Using my phone for navigation on an island well known for difficulty locating addresses, taking photos and filming video, uploading them along with check-ins, reviews, and tips on Yelp (where I am an "Elite '14 member), TripAdvisor (I am a "Senior Contributor"), Foursquare, and Facebook pages, and locating attractions, restaurants, parks, and beaches, our visit literally came to a standstill when my 3-month old iPhone 5c (unlocked for Family Mobile - $600) stopped responding.

We were 50 miles from our hotel in San Germán when my nearly fully (80%) charged phone went dark. Having used Waze's navigation and social media app to get there, we were suddenly stranded in an unfamiliar area with no way to get back. Unsure how to return to Rincón where we were staying, I called Apple iPhone customer service using my wife's phone. Over the next 30-40 minutes, I was told that there was no Apple Store in Puerto Rico and that I had to connect my phone to my computer (back in the room), connecting to iTunes to see if I could get the phone to work.

We figured out how to get back to the hotel on our own and I plugged the iPhone in to my computer, but nothing happened. I then plugged the phone into the adapter and electric socket to charge it overnight and went to bed. When we awoke, the phone was back on, but it quickly went dark again and would not respond no matter how long I pushed the start button. It was time to call Apple again.

The iPhone technical support representative's name was Adreana and she was very nice and helpful. She told me to hold down the "on/off button" and "back" button simultaneously for 10 seconds and low-and-behold  ... the phone came on! Why did the rep I called from San Germán not tell me about this "hard start" feature, allowing us to possibly navigate our way back to Rincón using Waze instead of winging-it?

I spent over an hour-and-a-half on the phone with Adreanna, finally having to reset the phone from a back-up I had fortunately made on my computer two days earlier. Because the reset was taking so long, she told me she would call me back before going home to see how it went and determine whether or not the problem was resolved. It was not. The phone had again gone dark shortly after resetting it. Adreanna told me that I would have to have the phone replaced, but because it was a Friday night and nothing could be done until Monday (???) I would have to wait until I got home to go to an Apple Store to get a new phone.

Adreanna made the appointment for me the day after our scheduled return at the Leawood, Kansas store, the closest to our home in Lawrence and a 40 mile drive each way. I told her that I had wanted a 5s originally, but because I needed a phone and because there was an unknown wait-time for the new 5s, I had no choice to get the 5c. I also told her that I was displeased with the 5c and lost all confidence in the model after what we had been through, asking if I could upgrade to the 5s instead of replacing it with a 5c, EVEN OFFERING TO PAY THE DIFFERENCE IN COST! She told me that would be likely and would call me at the store at my designated appointment time (12:50pm CST - January 15, 2014) to explain to "The Genius" what had been going on and to help me get the phone I needed. I sent Apple the following message before departing Puerto Rico:
"My phone is still shutting down, it has ruined my vacation, and my travel video I am producing. I am a food and travel critic, yelp Elite member, and TripAdvisor SENIOR CONTRIBUTOR and depend on my phone for photos, videos and to write reviews of places I am visiting. This is not just inconvenient, it has ruined my vacation and disrupted my livelihood.
C.T. Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret) 
Arriving at the Apple Store for my appointment the following Wednesday, I was passed around like a volleyball from genius to genius, finally ending up with a guy named "Chad" (who looked like the actor who plays Spock in the new Star Trek movies, also a star of the hit series "Heroes"). Chad was not a good listener and the volume on a video they had playing for an in-store workshop was so loud we could barely hear ourselves think.

Chad had me go through the entire very lengthy story again even though Adreanna and the other reps had made extensive notes in the case they had created about my problems. I told him that Adreanna would be calling any minute to explain everything, telling him she had told me I could probably upgrade to the 5s ... WHOAH ... HOLD IT RIGHT THERE PAL was the response I received as Chad quickly squashed that possibility by stating that "Apple only makes model for model exchanges, there's no way to upgrade according to Apple policy". I told Chad that Adreanna explained that it was possible and asked if he could check with a supervisor, which he did, only to return to tell me SORRY BUB!

I asked him how it was that their employee, Adreanna, could tell me one thing only to drive 80 miles and wasting an entire afternoon to be told it was not possible? I would have had them ship a 5c to my house so it would be there when I returned if I had been told "it was not possible" in the first place, but he could obviously care less. He then asked me to tell him the whole story again, as if he were trying to catch me in a lie, but his only solution was to "call iPhone support, talk to Adreanna, and see if they would upgrade my phone to a 5c". I left the store a very unsatisfied customer to say the least!

Extremely upset and distraught after getting the runaround from a company I had heard so many wonderful things about and wasting so much time trying get help I deserved, I waited until the next day to calm down before I called Adreanna. At 12:50pm on the nose, the phone rang and it was her, having noted the wrong date in her calendar even though she had made the appointment. 

I told Adreanna what had occurred at the Apple Store and she told me "I will inform my supervisor, we will call the store and get this fixed, and I will call you back soon and let you know what happens". I waited ... and waited ... and waited, but Adreanna did not call. Odd! I waited a few days, thinking that it was more complex than I had realized and believing that Adreanna surely would not just blow me off, Apple would not do that to a customer who had spent $3,000 over the past six months on their products ... OR WOULD THEY?

The following week I called Apple again, having to explain the whole situation again, but got the same answers ... "Adreanna? We have no idea who she is and she never should have told you those things. You cannot upgrade to a 5s, simple as that!" I asked to speak to a supervisor to find out why I had been told I could upgrade, why I had wasted so much of my time on the phone and driving back and forth to the store if it were in-fact impossible ... "Don't you care about integrity? Don't you care about customer service?" I asked.

I was put on-hold for close to 30 minutes before a Customer Care Supervisor came on the phone and while telling out of one side of her mouth how concerned she was about my "customer satisfaction", insisted in a rather snotty tone of voice that I was "lying" out of the other. "Our reps would never tell you that you could upgrade, it's not our policy" she said. I said "so are you calling me a liar", to which she replied "I did not say that". No, she may not have said it in those words, but her comment left little to the imagination regarding her opinion of my character.

As a disabled-Veteran and retired Air Force officer, I take great pride in my character, my integrity, and my honor. When she questioned my integrity, the conversation was over as far as I was concerned. I was so upset that I told her "you win, I am done wasting my time on a company that has so little concern or respect for their customers as is the case with Apple".

I went to the Apple Store in Colorado Springs to replace my 5c with a 5c "PER APPLE POLICY" in early February. After telling the young "genius" my story, for the 6th time at least, she brought the manager over to talk to me. He said "we'll make an exception to policy based on your experience and upgrade your 5C to a 5S. You'll have to return the new 5C, get a refund, and purchase a 5S for an extra $100." I asked him WHY HE COULD UPGRADE MY PHONE WHEN I HAD WASTED 30-40 HOURS AND DRIVEN OVER 100 MILES ONLY TO BE TOLD IT WAS "IMPOSSIBLE"? I thanked him for his kind offer, but by that time I was so fed-up with the way I had been treated, I told him "thanks, but no thanks … I will not give another penny of my hard earned money to Apple after the way I have been treated". I left the store with my new 5C.

Now, my Macbook Pro 13" (mid-2012) is acting up again! I had to reset the computer from a backup about 4 months ago following instructions on the Apple Support site after it would not boot no matter what I tried. That seemed to solve the problem, but Safari would not work (along with a couple other programs), so while at the Colorado Springs Apple Store I asked them to taker a look at it. They ended up keeping it overnight to reinstall the operating system which I was told was "corrupt". Safari was working again, but the other programs still had issues.

Two weeks ago when I could not boot the computer or get past the grey screen with the white Apple and the endlessly revolving wheel, not even in Safe Mode. Again, I tried to solve the problem using Apple Support instructions, but was unsuccessful, so I called their 800 number. The woman on the phone said I would have to partition my hard drive, which she helped me do, reinstall the operating system on the new partition, then follow the instructions after the computer restarted. I and a doctors appointment and could not stay on the phone, so she told me to call back if there were any problems.

The computer started after reinstalling the OS on the new partition and I followed the instructions as she had told me. It appeared as though the computer was setting-up as if I had not used it before, which I assumed was because of the new partition (which was eating up much more of my 500 GB hard drive by the way). When it asked me to select a backup to restore from, the recent backups from the week before (when the computer had last been working) were nowhere to be found on my 4TB network drive where I had safely stored them for months. The only backups listed were from May 2013, shortly after I bought the computer, so I assumed it wa again an issue with the new partition.

Once the backup was installed, I immediately went to Microsoft Outlook to check the emails I had not been able to view for nearly 6 days by then. When I checked my folders, all of the emails between May and now were gone … my work and personal email history was nowhere to be found, including those from three large lawsuits I am involved in, my father's funeral arrangements at Arlington National Cemetery in May, and documentation from our (very challenging) tenants in Kansas City (among many others)! All of our photos disappeared and the video on Puerto Rico I had spent dozens of hours creating for my YouTube (CombatCritic's TravelValue) channel was gone!

I called Apple again on March 12, 2014 to find out where my Outlook (.olm) file went as well as the backups from two weeks ago so I can get back to work, recover critical emails, and locate my Puerto Rico video that disappeared in iMovie during this process. 

I spoke with Andrew who helped me get permissions to the old partition of the hard-drive where the missing files supposedly reside. Because the process took so long, he had me call back later so that I could get some work done, promising to make "extensive notes" so I would not have to explain for the umpteenth time to an Apple Support Representative. Before I hung up, Andrew tried to sell me the "extended warranty" because my warranty was to expire in 61 days. I told Andrew that I have spent $3,000 on Apple products less than a year ago and WILL NOT SPEND ANOTHER PENNY ON PRODUCTS THAT SHOULD LAST MUCH LONGER THAN 12-36 MONTHS ... thanks, but no thanks!

When I called back a few hours later to continue with the next step, backing-up both partitions of the hard-drive so we could then wipe the hard-drive clean and restore the computer from its original (out-of-the-box) state with the files and programs I need from the two partitions, Melissa #1 answered the phone.

Even though Andrew had made "extensive notes", Melissa #1 acted as if she had nothing to go on and made me explain most everything. She was obviously clueless, making me wait on-hold while she asked her supervisors what to do next. I had to guide her through the process even though she is supposed to be "the expert". She finally decided that we should back-up the hard drive my 1TB external hard drive (Western Digital - My Passport), but because it would take several hours, I had to call back and go through the next step with another technician. I explained again how disappointed I am in Apple products, that I have wasted 40-50 hours of my time (between these problems and the debacle with my iPhone 5C in January and February), and that I am at wits-end. She placated me, as all other Apple employees have done, with words of sympathy, but zero action or follow-through. We made an appointment for 7:15pm to have a technician call me back to complete the next steps (clear the hard drive and reinstall from back-up).

At 7:oopm, I checked the back-up to see if had finished, but it still had 22 hours to go! I then realized that Melissa #1's instructions were inadequate and the back-up was not being made to My Passport, but to my 4TB network drive, exactly where she told me it should not be saved. So at 7:15pm when Melissa #2 called back, I told her what had happened and that I had initiated another back-up, this time to My Passport, and that because it would take severel hours, I would have to call back in the morning to proceed with the next steps.

March 13, 2014 - 10:21am (CST): I will update this post after the next phone call.

I am done fighting with these social cretins, will use my iPhone and Mac until they die (which should not take long based on my experience), and will go back to a Windows or Android-based phone and a non-Apple computer when they do ... FOOL ME ONCE, SHAME ON YOU; FOOL ME TWICE ... AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN APPLE!

Key Words: Apple, computer, Mac, iPhone, 5c, 5s, Macbook Pro, Macbook, poor, customer, service, zero, integrity, honor, lacking, character, Institutional, terrorism, InstitutionalTerrorism

Friday, January 24, 2014

BBB Corruption: Who Is Protecting Consumers?

Read more about BBB corruption on 

ABCNews 20/20:


and on:


From: Rospo
Date: January 24, 2014 at 3:56:20 PM CST
To: Better Business Bureau <omaha.nanc@bbb-email.org>
Subject: Re: BBB Complaint Case# 300101444 (Ref#21-17515-300101444-3-11100)

I guess what the say on 60 Minutes is true! A business really can buy the BBB's silence! 

C.T. Sorrentino, LtCol, USAF (Ret)

On Jan 24, 2014, at 1:05 PM, "Better Business Bureau" <omaha.nanc@bbb-email.org> wrote:

Complaint ID#: 300101444
Business Name: Das Auto Haus, Inc.

Thank you for contacting BBB regarding your complaint.

The complaint was received by BBB on January 24, 2014 and has been assigned case# 300101444 in our files.

We regret to inform you that BBB cannot process your complaint. The case has been reviewed by one of our Complaint Specialists and was found to contain issues that are out of BBB?s purview.

It is our policy to process only those complaints that fall into BBB's scope. Items such as criminal allegations, requests for punitive damages, employer/employee disputes, cases already involved in litigation, civil right violations, business to business collection issues, etc. are not handled by BBB.

Thank you for contacting the BBB.


Nancy, Ext. 8602
Dispute Resolution Specialist


HERE IS MY COMPLAINT. What exactly does not conform to the BBB's responsibilities?

"Thank you for using the Better Business Bureau's Online Complaint System.
Your complaint has been assigned case #300101444
Correspondence regarding this complaint will be emailed to : rospo2356@gmail.com
Please print a copy of this for your records.

Filed on : January 24 2014

Filed by : 
C.T. Sorrentino
Lawrence KS 66044

Filed against : 
Das Auto Haus, Inc.
1045 New Jersey St
Lawrence KS 66044-3049

Complaint Description:
We do not have a lot of money and our previous mechanic in Kansas City was always honest, fair, and did excellent work. Das Autohaus is not/does not! I took our 2000 Volkswagen Beetle to Dave for a simple check of the battery (which was losing its charge on very cold mornings) this morning, expecting a fair and reasonable estimate. He told me that it would take about an hour to run some diagnostics. I asked him how much an oil change would be while I was there and he told me, "$60". I told him that my last mechanic only charged me $25 (including oil, filter, checking fluids, and inflating tires) and that I thought his price was too high (HINT #2 of a rip-off ... I should have walked away right then, but I believe in supporting local small businesses), so I told him not to change the oil. Three hours later, Dave finally called and told me that the problem was in-fact the battery, which I assumed was the case, and considering the fact that batteries for my vehicle run around $100 (including FREE testing and installation) at any reputable auto parts store, I figured it should run me $160 more or less ($100 for the battery and an plus or minus an hour, to be generous, for labor - diagnostics and installation). I asked him how much it was going to cost and he said, "that comes to a little over $280". I thought maybe I had misheard the price, so I asked him, "did you say $280?". He confirmed the ridiculous price and I said, "I can buy a battery for $100 with free installation at an auto parts store, so why do you want to charge me $280? How much is the battery?". He replied, "$140", to which I responded, "so you want to charge me $140 in labor to replace a battery I can get installed for free anywhere else?" He told me, "that's what it costs. Do you know how long it takes to install a battery?" I told him that I do in-fact know how long it takes because I installed the VW battery 4 years ago myself, taking only about 15 minutes. His "I could care less" and aggressive tone of voice ticked me off, so I told him I would be right over to collect my car. When I arrived, he insulted me further by saying that the car had not been well maintained and, in an attempt to up-sell someone who was not going to fall for his BS in any event, that I needed to replace the timing belt. I told him that the timing belt had been replaced less than 70,000 miles ago and that the VW had been well maintained, changing the oil every 5,000 miles even though recommendations are to change diesel oil every 10,000 miles and making all RECOMMENDED and NECESSARY repairs (from our honest mechanic). He then handed me a bill for $75. He not only overcharged me for the labor involved with the estimate, which should have been free, HE CHARGED ME $9.99 FOR SUPPLIES? What supplies could he have possibly used to test my charging system? Having spent my Air Force career as a transportation officer and responsible for hundreds of auto mechanics (and the Best Transportation Squadron in the United States Air Force), I know how repair costs are calculated, so I asked Dave how much his hourly rate was. He said, "I work by the job, not by the hour", so I knew he was not on the up-and-up. He was trying to charge me over $140 in labor for a job that takes 6/10 of an hour, ATTEMPTING to charge me over $250 an hour for labor when the average is $65 to $70 an hour elsewhere ... CAN YOU SAY "RIP-OFF" ... SURE YOU CAN! I took my car to Walmart a few days later. They tested my charging system FOR FREE, CHARGED ME ONLY $109.97 FOR THE I took my car to Walmart (invoice below) a few days later. They tested my charging system FOR FREE, CHARGED ME ONLY $109.97 FOR THE BATTERY, and INSTALLED IT IN ABOUT 20 MINUTES FOR FREE ... for a total of only $124 and change! Adding in the $75 Dave charged me for doing practically nothing and the grand total came to $200, SO I STILL PAID $80 LESS THAN DAVE WAS GOING TO CHARGE ME even though I should have paid over $150 less if I had been dealing with an honest person.

Your Desired Resolution:
I should have received a free estimate. I told him it was the battery and he could have checked for a problem in less than 5 minutes. $66 for an estimate plus $10 for supplies is a rip-off. The only reason I paid was because I was in a hurry and did not want to have to call the police. I also want an apology for the way I was treated.

This case will be reviewed by a complaint specialist at the Better Business Bureau, and then forwarded to the business for their response. It is our policy to allow the business no more than thirty working days to respond to your complaint. Within those thirty days, we will write, fax, email or phone the company in an effort to seek a resolution to your case. You will be notified when the business has responded.

What would you like to do next?
View the status of your complaint
Return to the BBB Homepage BBB Privacy Policy

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Angie'sList or Angie'sBust? You Decide!

Message Sent To Angie'sList On January 23, 2014: 

I'm looking at a contractor I reviewed (poorly) a few months ago, Terravest Custom Homes, yet my MEMBER review does not appear while two "A" reviews from 2012 do! This is not the first time this has happened and is telling about the honesty and/or accuracy of the service I am paying you for. You can read more about my concerns with Angie's List on www.InstitutionalTerrorism.com.

I have had nothing but trouble with Angie'sList since day one. I gave up a previous account in Kansas City due to their underhanded techniques and favorable treatment of the contractors and service-providers they are supposed to provide "objective and unbiased" reviews of.

I found that my negative Angie'sList reviews were magically not appearing on the pages of companies with "apparently" PERFECT RATINGS. I also filed a dispute with Angie's List against Ryan lawn and Tree (Kansas City, MO) after my home was damaged to the tune of nearly $1,000 by squirrels Ryan's inadequate tree-triming failed to alleviate as promised. Ryan failed to trim trees and in one case trimmed a healthy tree that was not part of the estimate, causing damage to the tree.

As is the case with all Angie'sList reviews, IF A NEGATIVE REVIEW APPEARS AT ALL, the contractor/service-provider always has the final say and, as was the case with both Ryan and Terravest, they lied through their teeth, leaving readers with a false impression that the consumer, me, was wrong.

The only reason I paid for an Angie'sList subscription after moving to Lawrence, Kansas was because of the unethical contractor, Terravest Custom Homes, and so I could submit an unbiased review to help other consumers avoid wasting time and money as I had done. In the end, the two times I logged-in and checked the review in question, it was not posted and did not figure into the grade as was the case in the video recorded today and presented here.

Here is the review in question:


Company Name: Terravest Custom Homes
Category: Remodeling - General
Services Performed: Yes
* More Weight is given to a review where work has been completed.

Work Completed Date: October 18, 2013
Last Modified Date: December 09, 2013
Hire Again: No
Approximate Cost: $600.00

Description Of Work: We asked for an estimate to build a double garage on our lot.

Angie'sList Member Comments: 

"We contacted J. Stewart, the owner of Terravest Custom Homes, LLC, about building a two car garage BEFORE winter. We budgeted $20,000 plus or minus 10 percent for the project, being prepared to pay $18,000 to $22,000 in cash. Mr. Stewart seemed like a nice person when he came to do the estimate, seeming willing to work with us. We told him what our budget was and what exactly we wanted, a simple 24 foot by 24 foot two car garage on a cement slab with a double door, one window, one door, and electricity. We also wanted a quote to install a sidewalk from the garage to the front door. Mr. Stewart told us that he would try to keep costs down and estimated $30 to $40 a square foot for what we wanted, bringing the total to between $17,250 and $23,000 and very close to our budgeted amount. He told us that he could not provide a "final" quote until we had plans drawn up, so he recommended an architect whom we met with the following week.

When Mr. Stewart and the architect came to the house, we went through the process again, spelling out exactly where the garage would go, the size, and other details in order for the architect to draw up the plans to submit to the city. He told me that it would cost $600 to $1000 to complete the work and, trusting Mr. Stewart, we decided to go ahead with the plans in order to finish the garage before winter. That was on September 11th, 2013. The architect said that he should be able to finish the plans in a week.

A month went by with no word from either Stewart or the architect, so I contacted both and asked what the delay was. The architect said that it was taking longer than expected and that he would go to the city to see if there were any restrictions as well as come back to the house to measure the house, lot, and other things necessary to finish the plans. We finally received the plans on October 17th, 36 days after we were promised they would be done in one week. Winter was quickly approaching and we wanted to get the project going ASAP.

With plans in hand, Mr. Stewart scheduled an appointment to come by with his quote on Friday, October 17th, he was about 30 minutes late. As I looked over the quote, I was drawn to the total which was well over $30,000, FAR ABOVE the $30 to $40 a square foot we were quoted ($30,500 divided by 575 square feet comes to over $53 a square foot). I told Mr. Stewart that we could not afford $30,000 and he said "I can suggest some metal building companies", to which we replied "we already have a quote and it is only $6,000 for a metal garage". He quickly left without saying another word or offering to make things right.

I am disappointed by his behavior, making us wait nearly six weeks then coming in $10,000 (a 50 percent increase over his estimated price) over his original quote, but I am more upset with myself for trusting the man. We now have no garage, winter weather will arrive in a few weeks, and we spent $600 we could not afford to have plans drawn for a garage that may never be built. I should have known better than to trust a human being after what we have been through in the last 5 years, but J. Stewart seemed like a nice man with integrity, so I thought he would do the right thing. He did not, so DO NOT BE FOOLED by his friendly demeanor and empty promises. We paid and are still paying for trusting J. Stewart and Terravest Custom Homes, LLC, so we believe you should proceed very cautiously before hiring him for any project, particularly one with tens of thousands of dollars on the line."

Company (Terravest) Response:

"I am very sorry that the Angie's List Customer was dissatisfied with my presentation. I had as well hoped the project would have priced out at a lower price as we had hoped but the facts are not stated correctly. Several costs were presented as allowances which the client could opt not to spend. For example, we priced a $350 walk-in door with two small windows in the upper portion of the door to allow light into the garage while maintaining security and a window was added on the side of the building which again we gave the client the ability to deduct theses additional expenses. A standard 6 panel door could be selected for less expense and the window could have been deleted. When it was evident that the price was just to high for the clients we did discuss the metal building because I wanted to help them get some structure that could be affordable for them, I was willing to recommend a competitor just to still help them get a structure done before winter hit. The price they are quoting they got from someone was the metal building only with no foundation. We were asked to provide a concrete foundation, a garage concrete approach to the garage and then we were called back and asked to include 30 feet of sidewalk and an option to run more concrete to the front of the house. The person who is writing the review I have never been introduced to and dont know if I ever even met. There was a woman who showed up at the same time I did to present my presentation that I was thirty minutes late for but I had contacted the client in advance to let them know I was running behind on my schedule. The garage was also bid with other upgrades, a Heritage type 3-D roof versus a 3 tab, electrical wiring and a lighting allowance was added and a insulated garage door with an opener all which could be deducted or down graded. For example the garage door was an insulated door being installed on an un-insulated garage but this was included on the thought that the client would eventually insulate the garage. When we notified the client that we had all the bids together and we were assembling the bid we were also asked to include regrading the drainage on the lot which was also included. The cost of the city building permits were also added to the actual cost of the garage. The architectural drawings were suggested because there was a historical concern mentioned and more importantly it was explained to the client that the client would own the plans and they could therefore use the plan to get alternative bids from other contractors if I was unable to meet their budget expectations. Because the client worked directly with the architect, I was unaware of the delay in getting the drawings and I should have checked on this and did so the minute the client called me with concerns of delays and I did get the proposal to the client within ten days of receiving the blue prints as I had originally promised. When the client called and asked for additional drainage work around the garage, it was also determined that the sewer line for the house ran under the foundation for the garage and additional steps to taken to remedy any this problem as well is the removal of the line of trees along the alleyway and the pad that needed to be built up so that we could correct the rest of the drainage issues for the client. We even included an allowance of $250 for fine grading and seeding of the rear lot after the work was completed. Leaving in the cost of regrading the lot and removal of the trees but removing the additional upgrades the cost would have been at $48 per foot which was still too high for the clients budget and we apologize that we could not meet the expectations of the client but this is why we went through the bidding process to insure the client of what we could do and if the client feels that we have intentionally over priced the project, they own the plans and are free to do the project with another contractor of their choosing and we would be happy to provide any of our bids and estimates to the client or another contractor. We informed the client (a gentleman with a different name than the person submitting the review) before we started the process that it would be extremely hard to meet their budget expectations but we were willing to try if they wanted to have a third party draw the plans to insure that we were bidding apples to apples with anyone else that they choose to have bid the project. We again apologize for any misunderstanding and wish that we would have had the opportunity to involve this person in our discussions about the project and find it very disappointing to have these things written about our company from a person whom we have never met and this is what often happens with third party discussions and it is always good to take notes and ask the contractor to clarify any expectations in writing prior to the start of any project to make sure that everyone's expectations are equal. J. Stewart

Angie'sList Review Addendum (Dated 12/9/2013)

"Very odd, but when I searched Terravest Custom Homes today, my review and grade were nowhere to be found with Terravest receiving an "A" on recent reviews.  I have had this problem with Angie's List before.  Poor reviews are either missing or the service provider lies through their teeth (as is the case again here) and I, the consumer, has little if any recourse to tell the truth.

This account belongs to my wife, Elisa F, "the woman" referred to in the 10/21/13 response, and Mr. Stewart was introduced to her the first time he came to our home and again when he dropped off his ridiculous bid.  Let me just clarify a couple points made by Mr. Stewart in his lengthy, confused, and misleading response (there are so many inaccuracies that I will not attempt to answer them all):

As far as the "grading" and "upgrades" are concerned, Mr. Stewart is lying when he said that they were "added on".  We spoke about the grading ($250), the roof, door, electrical, and roof the first time we met and the second time when the architect came to plan his drawings, so Mr. Stewart's account is intentionally misleading.  The architect can attest to this fact if asked. Even then, we are talking about chump change compared to his overall bid of $30,000. I never called and asked for "additional drainage work", so Mr. Stewart is indeed a liar.  Take that into consideration when deciding whether or not to hire him for a job.

Winter is now here and my wife and I are scraping snow off our cars and freezing our buns off because of Mr. Stewart's incompetence.  Hopefully, Angie's List will DO THE RIGHT THING  and publish my review on Terravest's page so that other consumer's will not waste their valuable time or money.  I am downgrading my review to an "F" because Mr. Stewart is a liar and as a retired AIr Force lieutenant colonel and disabled Veteran, I have ZERO TOLERANCE FOR PEOPLE WITHOUT HONOR AND INTEGRITY ... ZERO!


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Sunday, January 19, 2014

#BringBoweHome ... Seeking the Release of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl (USA)

#BringBoweHome ... Seeking the Release of Sgt Bowe Bergdahl (USA)

Sgt Bowe Bergdahl, USA - Captured June 30, 2009

Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was captured on June 30th, 2009 while on patrol near the town of Yahya Khel in the Paktika Province in Southeast Afghanistan and near the border with Pakistan.

Bowe recently received national media attention after this video was exposed:

For more background on his capture and efforts for his release, read more here:

This young man has been in captivity for nearly 5 years, but have you heard much, if anything, about him? Probably not. Why is our government and the media covering this up and what are they doing to ensure his safe release or recovery?

You and your family members are home, safe, and secure, but Sgt Bowe Bergdahl's family has been worrying about their son, brother, and grandson for nearly five years ... PLEASE SIGN THIS WHITE HOUSE PETITION, endorsed by Bowe's father Bob on Twitter:

Let's help #BringBoweHome soon and safely!

Key Words: sgt, Bowe, Bergdahl, bob, US, Army, Afghanistan, patrol, capture, captured, captivity, Taliban, Pakistan, Navy, SEALS, CombatCounselor, combat, counselor

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Letter to Joe Biden: Attack on Military Retiree COLAs and Disabled Vet-Owned Business

January 15, 2014

Dear Vice-President Biden,

I am a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, 80% disabled Veteran, and service-disabled veteran-owned small business owner. I am tired of this administration's anti-Veteran/military agenda and lack of concern and response to whistleblower retaliation against me by the Department of Interior.

The fact that military retiree COLAs were targeted for 1% per year reduction until age 62 is wrong! Your retirement, the retirements of Congress, and the retirement of DoD civilians like Sharon Hallinan, the Department of Interior contracting officer who retaliated against me and ruined my business, we're not targeted, but those of us who defended our country for 20+ years were?

Why are the millions of dollars being wasted by Government agencies and contractors each year not targeted BEFORE the pensions of the brave men and women who dedicated their lives to our Nation's freedom?

I was targeted for whistleblower retaliation by the Department of Interior after reporting gross fraud, waste, and abuse in the Military Family Life Consultant (MFLC) program in the tens of millions of dollars annually. I complained to the Department of Interior Contracting Officer, Interior Business Center, in January of last year and two days later my $50K MFLC contract was cancelled. Not only did I lose much needed income, she fabricated lies, defaming my character and ruining the reputation of my business, leading to my business being ruined and the loss of our home and half of our possessions.

I filed complaints with the DoI and DoD IGs, but was ignored. My Congressman, Sam Graves, and Senators Blunt and McCaskill blew me off as did your boss President Obama. 

How is it that military retirees are the FIRST ONES TARGETED when it comes time to reduce spending? Why are government agencies and contractors allowed to defraud our Government and taxpayers, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars each year with impunity? How can a Government agency get away with illegally canceling a contract and ruining a service-disabled veteran-owned small business? I will continue to pursue this until those responsible are held accountable and am contacting you because I believe you are one of the few in Washington with the INTEGRITY and persistence to take action. I hope I am right Mr. Vice-President.

God bless you, your family, and our United States of America!

Chris Sorrentino,  LtCol, USAF (Ret)

Submitted via the White House app and website at 4:30 pm (CST) on 1/15/2014

PostScript: Representative Paul Ryan (R - WI) and Senator Patty Murray (D - WA) initiated the bill in Congress and IN ALL LIKELIHOOD NEVER SERVED A DAY IN UNIFORM. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND that both Rep. Ryan and Senator Murray NOT BE RE-ELECTED OR ELECTED TO A HIGHER OFFICE due to their contempt for our military and Veterans and the cowardly act of reducing retiree entitlements BEFORE addressing far bigger problems such as the GROSS FRAUD and WASTE endemic in government and government contracting.

KeyWords: resolution,Graves,retiree,McCaskill,disabled,joe,Biden,INTEGRITY,government,veteran,COLA,abuse,Congress,interior,Vice-president,Blunt,contractor,waste,budget,fraud