SMYRNA, TN (WSMV) - "We thought it was a great buy."
Instead the dream home William and Laura Griffin were so excited about turned out to be anything but what they envisioned.
“It’s really turned out to be one of the most horrible experiences that we could ever imagine,” William Griffin said.
The couple closed on their Smyrna home last August. Since then they say they’ve noticed problems.
“We started noticing a bunch of cracks and stuff started taking place,” Griffin said.
Cracks in the bathroom walls, dips in the roof and fallen braces in their attic.
“There’s quite a few braces just dangling. Hanging there. There’s H-Clips missing up there. A lot of our deflection outside. If you look in the attic, it’s separating and eventually it’s going to leak,” Griffin said.
The Griffins said they had two independent inspections completed. Both inspections reported problems with the roof shingles.
According to these documents, both inspectors recommended the shingles be replaced by a qualified contractor.
The Griffins said they tried multiple times to get the problems fixed by the builder, Century Communities, but they kept giving them the runaround.
Eventually, the couple said their one-year warranty ended. It’s to the point where the stress brings Laura Griffin to tears.
“That they could do this to people. That they could sleep at night doing this to people that work hard,” Laura Griffin said.
News4 reached out to Century Communities for an on-camera interview. We wanted to know if the company has plans to fix the roof and asked they the Griffins were allegedly given the runaround for a year.
Ralph Baja, the company’s National Vice President of Customer Engagement and Safety, sent a statement:
We stand behind the quality of the home we built for the Griffins. Our local team has communicated with the Griffins that - with their cooperation - we remain committed to addressing any warrantable issues.
The Griffins say all they want at this point is for the builders to acknowledge their issues and do something about it.
“They’re steady building houses out here and I do not want this to happen to anyone else. No one should have to go through this,” Griffin said.
News4 checked in with the Attorney General’s Office. As of this date, they only have one complaint against Century Communities - the one filed by the Griffins.
The Griffins are waiting to see if a hearing is necessary.
The Federal Trade Commission offers consumers tips if you feel you are in the middle of a warranty dispute:
To minimize problems:
Read the warranty before you buy. When online, look for hyperlinks to the full warranty or to an address where you can write to get a free copy. Understand exactly what protection the warranty gives you. If a copy of the warranty is available when shopping online, print it out when you make your purchase and keep it with your records.
Consider the reputation of the company offering the warranty. Look for an address to write to or a phone number to call if you have questions or problems. If you're not familiar with the company, ask your local or state consumer protection office or Better Business Bureau if they have any complaints against the company. A warranty is only as good as the company that stands behind it.
Save your receipt and file it with the warranty. You may need it to document the date of your purchase or prove that you're the original owner in the case of a nontransferable warranty.
Perform required maintenance and inspections.
Use the product according to the manufacturer's instructions. Abuse or misuse may void your warranty coverage.
If you have problems with a product or with getting warranty service:
Read your product instructions and warranty carefully. Don't expect features or performance that your product wasn't designed for, or assume warranty coverage that was never promised in writing. A warranty doesn't mean that you'll automatically get a refund if the product is defective - the company may be entitled to try to fix it first. On the other hand, if you reported a defect to the company during the warranty period and the product wasn't fixed properly, the company must correct the problem, even if your warranty expires before the product is fixed.
Try to resolve the problem with the retailer. If you can't, write to the manufacturer. Your warranty should list the company's mailing address. Send all letters by certified mail, return receipt requested, and keep copies.
Contact your state or local consumer protection office. They can help you if you can't resolve the situation with the seller or manufacturer.
Research dispute resolution programs that try to informally settle any disagreements between you and the company. Your local consumer protection office can suggest organizations to contact. Also, check your warranty; it may require dispute resolution procedures before going to court.
Consider small claims court. If your dispute involves less than $750, you can usually file a lawsuit in small claims court. The costs are relatively low, procedures are simple, and lawyers usually aren't needed. The clerk of the small claims court can tell you how to file your lawsuit and your state's dollar limits.
If all else fails, you may want to consider a lawsuit. You can sue for damages or any other type of relief the court awards, including legal fees. A lawyer can advise you how to proceed.