John Chmielinski

John Chmielinski

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We called this company, owned by John Chmielinski, to fix a leak in our home originating at the chimney. The first estimate was fine, but over the next two weeks, the owner returned 3 times to collect more money, claiming that the repair was “more extensive” than he realized. In total, he charged more than four times the original estimate and insisted on having the entire payment up front to purchase materials. (By this time we were obviously suspicious, but we had a hole in our roof and felt we were at his mercy.) He claimed the chimney needed new parts; when the parts “arrived,” he called to tell us, but never installed them. He regularly missed appointments and never gave us finalized paperwork, despite repeated and numerous requests–then demands–to produce them. | The first estimate for the length of the project (1 week) was also off by miles–that was in early May 2014. (We finally fired him in late June, with an incomplete chimney.) At one point, the tarp-covered frame he left in place on the roof–before disappearing for weeks–failed during a heavy rainstorm. The leak inside the house grew far worse than the original, and ultimately cost an additional $1,600 (homeowners insurance claim) to repair. During the storm, rain poured into the fireplace on the first floor. We called him almost daily after that leak, and he never returned even to adjust the tarp to prevent more leaking, let alone complete the job. | On the rare occasion when he returned our calls, we nearly always got a “dog ate my homework” excuse for why he couldn’t come to finish his job. One day, he didn’t even bother to give an excuse and said that he’d “forgotten” our appointment that he made the day before. Another time he insisted that he’d said Thursday rather than Wednesday, even though we had a voicemail message from him saying Wednesday. (He didn’t show up either day.) | In the meantime, we had only a leaking tarp around a chimney frame on the roof. His ladders, equipment, and construction trash were piled on our patio for weeks. In late June 2014 we finally fired him, told him to come get his equipment and haul away the trash, and warned him never to contact us again. We received two calls that day: one from him begging us to please give him another chance (still no paperwork, still trash on the lawn, still no completed job), and the second call, bizarrely, from his wife, also begging us to give him another chance. | I should note that he did not make these pleas because he wanted to make things right; he made them after we informed him that we were reporting him to the Better Business Bureau, calling a lawyer, and filing a legal complaint against him with the state attorney general and our county consumer protection bureau. (The BBB has a report but did nothing because he refused to answer their calls; the other actions are pending.) | He never returned for his equipment, nor did he ever return to clean and remove his trash. We have since found records of four legal findings against him in our county magisterial court alone. We also discovered that this is his third business name; he seems to simply take himself out of business once someone files a legal complaint, and then starts up a new one when the coast seems clear. | Admittedly, we did not do our due diligence in hiring this guy. At the very least, we never 1) should have paid up front and 2) should have authorized the repairs without official paperwork outlining the job. Lesson learned and re-learned. But this guy is truly a predator. There are three of us living here; the homeowner is 65 and her father is 95, and those were the people with whom he dealt. He refused, almost childishly, to have any dealing with the one person who was highly suspicious of his practices. He bilked these two out of thousands of dollars for a job he never completed and for materials he kept for himself. He needs to be out of the roofing business permanently.

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