COLORADO SPRINGS — Our News 5 investigative team is following a series of complaints against a Colorado homebuilder.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, several owners have filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau with a common problem—they say the builder won’t honor their warranty.
It’s no secret—new home construction is popping up all over Colorado Springs.
William Sawvel recently bought a house from CreekStone Homes on the northeast side of town.
He says that since moving in, his family has had nothing but trouble.
“Every 3-4 months we have lights going out in the house and we have to replace them all,” he said.
Sawvel had no problem demonstrating electrical issues for our cameras. For example, every time he turns on the vacuum, the basement lights flash.
If you walk on the treadmill in the basement, the light also flashes.
Initially, William says it wasn’t a big deal since his house was covered by a one-year warranty.
“With all the issues we were having, my wife and I decided it would probably be a good idea to get an inspector to come before the end of the warranty and have him inspect the house and tell us everything that was wrong with it. the house that needs fixing so we can send it to Creekstone,” he said.
In a Inspection report obtained by News 5, an inspector found cracks in the concrete, nails driven too far into the siding that could lead to water damage as well as electrical issues deemed a “safety risk.”
Sawvel says that before contacting News 5, he tried several times to get the automaker to fix the issues.
I ended up sending three emails,” he said. “I just remind them that these are warranty issues and we would like these issues resolved. They never responded.”
The paper trail:
March 17, 2020: CreekStone Homes sent a generic message to homeowners advising them that in-home warranty appointments have been suspended immediately due to COVID-19 concerns
April 22, 2020: CreekStone sent another email stating that all warranty work on completed homes is temporarily suspended due to the Governor’s “Stay Home” order.
However, News 5 Investigates found a potential problem. If you look at the actual order from Governor Jared Polis, we noticed an exemption for services related to construction, housing, and work done by electricians and plumbers.
In addition to this discovery, William says, as he and his wife were walking through the neighborhood, they came across a CreekStone model home. On the door of this house was a note indicating a telephone number to fix an appointment of visit.
Online, William said CreekStone Homes had noted their models were “open” and appointments for in-person viewings were available.
William asked, “How do you have open houses and then tell the owners of those houses that we can’t fix the problems with the houses we’ve already sold? Something didn’t seem right.”
William says that after months of no progress, he finally decided to do some repairs on his own.
He then sued CreekStone Homes to help recover repair costs.
A judge awarded him more than $2,000. However, court records show CreekStone Homes did not pay this judgment.
News 5 Investigation Later, CreekStone Homes Files Complaint appeal to overturn the judge’s decision. Court documents filed by CreekStone question whether the courts should have had the power to intervene in this case. They cited a “purchase and sale agreement” which would stipulate that disputes should be handled through mediation and arbitration.
“There are other families who have the same issues (with warranty issues),” Sawvel said. “They don’t respond or they find excuses not to solve the problems.”
We verified William’s claim through the BBB’s own records.
Since anyone can leave a bad review against a business, News 5 decided to focus only on the 8 formal complaints the BBB has filed over the past 3 years against CreekStone. However, it appears that all 8 complaints were filed after the pandemic began.
“Larger issues were overlooked by the builder,” one complaint said.
Another complaint stated that “warranty work was not performed”.
News 5 Investigates contacted CreekStone Homes to comment on William’s case and to discuss BBB’s complaints in more detail.
Perry Cadman, vice president of operations, did not respond to BBB’s complaints, but released a statement on William’s court case.
“In relation to the case, Creekstone Homes is appealing a verdict in El Paso County District Court involving a homebuyer who originally filed a claim for less than $7,500. our business is not to comment on ongoing court cases,” Cadman said. .
News 5 also asked if CreekStone Homes would be willing to sit down and discuss processes and procedures for handling warranty claims. Cadman declined this opportunity.
“At Creekstone Homes, we pride ourselves on our A-plus rating with the Better Business Bureau, and we respond to issues and complaints in a timely manner, keeping the customer’s best interests in mind,” he said. declared. for 27 years, and we look forward to the next 27. With respect to a conversation on the subject of our warranty policies, we respectfully decline to participate in them as they are so standard and therefore, in our view, not newsworthy.
William says he still hasn’t fixed his home’s electrical problems and CreekStone Homes offered no solution in the two statements released to News 5.
We will continue to follow the builder’s appeal throughout the legal process.
Tips for working with home builders:
Communication is key—both before and after the closing process. It’s okay to seek clarification and ask questions about a builder’s process for handling warranty issues.
Similar to working with contractors, always document issues and problems in writing. This creates a paper trail.
Even if you’re moving into a new home, it can be helpful to do a pre-closing inspection. Also be present during this inspection so that you can report any problems you may notice.
If you believe that complaints or warranty issues are not being handled appropriately, you may file formal complaints with the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Protection Division at the Colorado Attorney General’s Office.
Have an issue you’d like News 5 Investigates to investigate? Email us: [email protected]