Is My Gutter Contractor Ever Going To Repair The Damage To My House?

The workers who came to Matt’s house and installed new gutters did a great job, but they damaged the siding. He doesn’t want to pay their bill until the (very minor) damage to his house has been fixed. But he also doesn’t want the company to sic a collection agency on him. What would the consumerists do?

About 6 months ago we had our gutters replaced. The company did a great job and we were pleased with the work. The workers were friendly and were more than willing to make some modifications at our request, even after they had already cleaned up and packed up their truck. We paid half the amount for the work up front and were to be billed for the remainder.

The problem started when shortly after the workers left, I noticed a small hole in our siding, which I assumed happened when the old gutters were removed. The hole was small, perhaps the size of two quarters, most people may not have even made a fuss. However, as had just put our house on the market, and the hole was near the front door, I wanted to make sure it got patched up.

I called the company immediately, and explained we were overall happy but just wanted to have someone take a look at the hole and see if they had the materials to patch it. I was told someone would be out to look at it. I heard nothing for a few days. Over the next week, I left about three messages with the company, which were never returned. On the final message, I was clear that I was ready to pay the bill, but was just waiting for the issue of the hole to be resolved, even offering to patch it myself and just subtract the cost of materials from the final bill. Since I was starting a new job and preparing to move the family, I decided 4 attempts on my part was more than enough, and if the company was in no hurry to follow up with me then I would be in no hurry to pay the bill.

Five months go by, and I’ve nearly forgotten about the issue until we receive a second bill. I once again call the company and calmly explain the situation emphasizing that I’m really not angry about the hole, but just want someone to address it before I pay the bill. Once again I’m told their worker who handles after-job complaints/issues will be in touch with me.

Again, a couple weeks go by and I haven’t heard a word.

My concern now is that the company will turn the bill over to a collections agency, and I’m not sure that headache and possible damage to my credit would be worth continuing to hold out such a minor issue. I could just repair this myself at a cost of $25-30 and admit defeat, so it’s really a matter of principle at this point.

But what is the best way to proceed in order to get a response/action out of the company? Should I write an official complaint letter to the company saying I will pay the bill as soon as my concerns are addressed? Should I patch the hole myself and send them a reduced payment along with a receipt for materials I used to patch the hole? They are accredited with the BBB, have I given them reasonable chances to address the situation, and go ahead and and file complaint? Bottom line, is it fair for me to continue to withhold the remainder of the payment until the issue is addressed?

We will leave this open for the seasoned homeowners and contractors in the Consumerist Hive Mind to weigh in. What should Matt do? Leave your advice in the comments, or e-mail tips@consumerist.com and we’ll pass your message on.