Nashville couple blames contractor for problems with new home - WSMV News 4

Nashville couple blames contractor for problems with new home

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The couple paid more than $900,000 for their new home. (WSMV) The couple paid more than $900,000 for their new home. (WSMV)

Buyers who purchase a brand new house probably expect a move-in ready home.

One Middle Tennessee family spent more than $900,000 and instead got a home where parts of the walls and ceilings are coming apart.

The family contacted the Channel 4 I-Team for help.

The I-Team not only wanted to see what happened in this case, but with Middle Tennessee becoming a popular place to relocate, we wondered how many other people were filing complaints about their contractors.

The I-Team found 500 complaints have been filed against contractors in the state in just the last couple of years.

Like so many Nashvillians, Trever and Ashley Tummins bought a new house. With it they got new headaches.

“It's been really hard. It's been a nightmare almost, what we've gone through for the last year and a half,” Trever Tummins said.

When they moved in the $965,000 house in Belle Meade, they had a punch list of things the builder was still fixing. They say that builder, John Nelson with Advanced Design Systems, promised he'd finish it while the house was still under its one-year warranty.

But more than one year later, there's still a crack on the front hallway floor, cracks on walls downstairs, water spots in the upstairs bathrooms, and parts of the ceiling coming apart.

“Things just seem like they keep popping up with this house,” Trever Tummins.

The couple said after a while, their builder just disappeared on them.

“He just stopped contacting, and that's when he blocked our emails, blocked our phone numbers, text messages, so we haven't even been able to get a hold of him,” Trever Tummins said.

Yet the couple’s kitchen is advertised on the homepage of, a popular Nashville designer who helped design this million dollar home.

"It's like a nightmare because you're helpless. I'm not a contractor. I’m not a roofer. I can't fix this stuff,” Trever Tummins said.

So they filed a complaint with the state. An I-Team investigation found the Tummins aren't alone. Since 2015, more than 500 contractor complaints have been filed with the state. About 15 percent of those come from Davidson County.

But only 18 of those contractors have had their licenses revoked. Officials with the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance believe the numbers would be higher if people actually filed more complaints.

“One reason the numbers might be low is that people might not know about the board or they might feel embarrassed and not want to contact us if they feel like they've been scammed,” said TDCI spokesperson Kevin Walters.

So what about the Tummins’ builder, John Nelson? He's had two complaints filed against him. One was determined by the state to be unfounded. The other was filed by the Tummins and is still pending.

Nelson isn't eager to talk about it. After repeatedly refusing to do an interview, the I-Team went to the address listed as his business address but later learned he doesn't actually live there, his parents do.

Nelson issued a statement that did not address any of our questions. In it, he referred to the Tummins as disgruntled customers who he unsuccessfully tried to please over many months.

Nelson did say none of the problems in the home are his fault.

In a letter to the state, Nelson said there was an agreement the house was completed and there were minor issues which were taken care of.

But Nelson said he agreed to fix all the issues. He said the couple was supposed to pick out new tiles for both the front porch and the front hallway but never did. Eventually, the warranty ran out.

In the letter, Nelson called the minor cracks in the concrete normal and said he and the Tummins agreed the house was completed.

The Tummins said those statements aren’t true.

"Sure we could go and fix it all ourselves and pay money to do that, but I don't think we should have to do that,” Trever Tummins said.

And while the Tummins may have to pay more money to have someone else fix it, they don't want others to make the same mistake they did.

The couple said they're happy the state is investigating their situation and advised others to file a formal complaint just like they did.

"It's so frustrating. We should have never ever closed, and I think about that every day. I'm like, if we ever buy a house again, everything’s going to be done,” Trever Tummins said.

This case is scheduled to go before the Tennessee Board for Licensing Contractors on Tuesday where a decision is expected to be made. The I-Team will report on what happens.

Click here to find out if a certain contractor is licensed.

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