Complaint information
  • Author: Anonymous Complaint
  • Date: 02.16.2008
  • 0
 (Votes #: 0)

Better Business Bureau - John D. Colman Arbitrator - Complaints / Reviews / Scam Reports
Ignored my case didn't return calls ignored the facts denied the physical evidence and lied on paper They protected a crooked business and misled me

This is a Complaint / Review about Better Business Bureau - John D. Colman Arbitrator.

Bear with me on this. I know it is long, but it has to be in order to be accurate.

To set the mood: I got NO RETURN CALLS, they were very difficult to contact because they dont have any sort of answering service, on average it takes 30 minutes to actually contact them. Online, you have to have a specific link to see your case, and there is no way to search your case number. During and after the case there is no way to see what the case is about, it only states resolved, customer failed to acknowledge acceptance to the BBB, or despite the companys reasonable effort to address complaint issues, the consumer remained dissatisfied. It is all geared to make the business look good. They WILL NOT tell you what the status of your case is unless you specifically ask. They DO NOT give you any sort of time line, and they WILL NOT tell you when a deadline approaches, or even if the deadline passes. They do not counsel you on what impact your choices could have on your case. The BBB is only there to protect businesses who pay them.

In 2004 my wife and I contracted Padilla Homes, Inc. to build a house in El Paso, Texas. Padilla Homes, Inc. was a high end homebuilder in the area and we were excited to have lucked into a great lot and a great plans. The rear rock wall immediately began to rotate (bow outward, and tip over). That wall is a retaining wall at the rear of our property which keeps our back yard and swimming pool from falling into the arroyo (valley) below. After refusal of Padilla Homes Inc. to repair the wall under warrantee, I contacted the El Paso, Texas Better Business Bureau. I informed them of my situation and they instructed me to follow the instructions online and file my case on the website.

I filed my case under case number 99130032 and waited for them to respond. Padilla Homes, Inc. responded to my complaint by saying they disagree with my claims and would look into it. BBB administratively closed the case and did not inform me. I looked the case up online and notice that it stated the case was closed and the consumer accepted the response from the defendant. They actually stated Your company has made a good faith effort in an attempt to resolve this issue; therefore we are closing the case at this time. Of course they dont tell the consumer that. I called them and they said that because Padilla Homes responded and I did not dispute the response, I was satisfied with the response. They reopened the case after I threatened to call the National BBB offices.

They asked if I would like to arbitrate the case or just mediate. They explained that arbitration is binding and mediation is not. I figured that if mediation is not binding then what is the point? We had a solid case and our builder was ripping us off, not a problem. Now this is 7 months after the case was filed and after repeated, almost daily phone calls. They were definitely blowing me off.

The arbitrator, John D. Colman, from Colman Concepts Inc., visited my home along with a guy from Padilla Homes, Inc. Also in attendance was the citys Chief Building Inspector and the Chief Residential Inspector. Everyone agreed, verbally, that there was a problem with the wall. The guy from Padilla Homes (Michael Ramsey) was not a knowledgeable party. He really did not know what was going on. The city inspectors took notes and measurements and said they were going to research the property to see if Padilla Homes had any permits for the wall. They stated they doubted there would be any since the wall would never have passed the inspections.

I get my case in order and go to arbitration. I have photos, measurements, photos of measurements, photos taken during construction, you name it. The guys at CSI would have been proud. The city inspectors are in attendance and so is that not-so-knowledgeable guy from Padilla Homes. Mr. Padilla was obviously not worried about losing the case and he was not taking it seriously if he sent this guy. There are many more educated personnel working in his office. In the FBI they call it a clue. I had my turn at the Padilla guy and so did the city inspectors. There were no permits on file, it was built contrary to city code, it was not designed by an engineer, it had no backfill to stabilize the wall, the footing was not thick enough, the foundation was undermined due to the lack of backfill, it was built using weep holes for drainage where it should have been a sump box, it was built on fill dirt and not compacted, etc. All he could say was I dont know,I wasnt working for Padilla then, and I wasnt able to find that information. I win, right? Wrong.

About a week later I get a letter in the mail stating that I lost the arbitration. Some of the statements they wrote on the decision were as follows:
1. The rock wall does not have any major flaws, cracks or separation at any point on the wall, whether at the base, top or the areas that have shown separation.
What? Are they serious? That is a real slap in the face!

2. The pitch of the landscaping is towards the wall.
They know that is untrue, they took photos of the pitch, and used a carpenters level to check the grade in several places. I even have a picture I took during a heavy rain that shows the water pooling next to the patio, nowhere near the wall.

3. Padilla Homes, Inc. states that the wall is constructed properly, that the foundation of the wall is sound, and that the wall was inspected and approved by the City of El Paso. The City of El Paso neither inspected nor approved the rock wall design or structure at the time of construction.

The second part is a true statement, so why did I lose?

I contacted the National BBB and they said I can request a Correction of Decision based on inaccurate facts. I did so and John D. Colman, the arbitrator, instructed me to get an engineers report. His quote through e-mail: Have Mr. (me) submit the professional engineers report, the name of the engineering firm, including the qualifications of the engineer and engineering firm, and the methods used to make the determination. At that time I will hold discussion with the City Inspectors who assisted in the fact finding during arbitration. Should there be cause, then additional hearings might well be appropriate, including an additional site visitation that would require the presence of the engineer.

Ok, sounds good. I did as he instructed and presented the report to the BBB for review. He then sent us a letter stating the decision still stands and that I had sufficient opportunity to enlist engineering consultation prior to the arbitration. This was after he told me to get an engineers report! At the end of the reconsideration he states It was the city engineers opinion, and the arbitrators research of required wall construction, that Padilla Homes, Inc. had performed as necessary.

It was NOT the city engineers opinion. The city engineers/inspectors stated to me and also during the arbitration that the wall was built incorrectly and that Padilla Homes Inc. really messed it up. To top it off, I had an engineers report in hand that stated otherwise. Since then I have consulted with a second engineering firm and they agree with the first firm with the exception that they stated that near the pool the wall should be a lot thicker than the first engineer stated it should be. I dont remember seeing John D. Colman, Engineer on his title! How can he say my engineers are wrong?

In my opinion, John D. Colman performed as necessary for the BBB and for Padilla Homes, Inc. in protecting Mr. Padillas interests. I researched Mr. Colmans business and it comes back in the BBB website as Home Economics Consultants. It is not accredited with the BBB. There doesnt seem to be much else. Good luck finding anything on this guy. How the heck did he land a job at the BBB as an arbitrator? I am guessing he was the one with the stickiest palm?

I believe that the El Paso Better Business Bureau is a corrupt entity. I reported them to the national BBB and it seems some of the employees in El Paso were replaced, but the practice remains the same. If you have a dispute with a builder go to the TRCC instead. You will lose arbitration and mediation is not binding so the builders will not follow the recommendations.

If anyone else has had trouble with the El Paso BBB, post it here and maybe we can present the case to the Texas Atty General.

Better Business Bureau, what a waste of time. It is only there as protection for crooked businesses.

el paso, Texas

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Complaint author: Anonymous Complaint

Offender: Better Business Bureau - John D. Colman Arbitrator

Country: USA
State: Texas
City: El Paso
Address: 221 N. Kansas Suite 1101
Phone: 9155770191

Category: Politics & Government

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