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AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation promised a backup sump pump as part of the basement waterproofing job I asked them to do. They delivered something smaller and cheaper without telling me, keeping the cost difference. Caught this time in their own contract language, they couldn’t hide behind legalities. Unlike the “substitution” they pulled off in the case of the 1/2 horsepower pump (see previous posting: AquaGuard Waterproofing Failures | Wrong Sump Pump), this was a cut-and-dry case of contract breach. In this posting we’ll explore what they tried to get away with.
As noted by the Arbitrator: “The backup pump was to be a model 510, but a model 507 was installed instead. … The Contractor has materially breached the Contract by providing a substandard, improper and defective drainage and waterproofing system.”
There are several points worth going over in the above comments.
First, there is no question that the contract had written into it the fact that the backup pump was to be a Model 510. The manufacturer is Zoeller, the same company that manufactures the submersible 1/3 horsepower pump AquaGuard switched out for the one they told me they were going to install, again to their material gain and without telling me. In that case, however, they got away with it because the details were “only” in their written proposal but not in the less-detailed contract. As noted in a previous posting, AquaGuard’s General Manager doesn’t care what’s in the proposal. See Basement Waterproofing AquaGuard Misleading Proposal.
Second, this was one of many cases where AquaGuard “…materially breached the Contract…” because the pump model was specified. Another such case, described in previous postings, was the grossly incompetent use of exterior roofing tar on the interior walls of my basement. The contract clearly called for the use of Aquafin coatings, for which I paid approximately $7,000.00. Instead, AquaGuard’s disreputable subcontractor tried to rip me off by using a can of exterior roofing tar costing around $50. AquaGuard, on learning of this outrage, wanted me at first to accept this substitution.
Finally, the arbitration process itself focused primarily on breaches of contract, which was entirely appropriate for that venue. Unfortunately the many outrageous actions by AquaGuard that could not be directly tied to a clear case of contract breach were essentially dismissed as unproven. This is the way the process works and I accept that. I also recognize that the truth must be spoken, hence my careful, thoughtful description of what happened in my home. I hope people, be they consumers, contractors, or those responsible for enforcing the rules and regulations within the construction business, will find this information useful.
With respect to this switching out of backup pumps, no excuse whatsoever was offered by AquaGuard. Unlike the downsizing of the submersible pumps from 1/2 horsepower to 0.3 horsepower, they did not attempt to make claims about the reliability of the Zoeller Model 510 versus the Zoeller Model 507. Nor did they attempt to claim that the paperwork had not “caught up” with current practice, i.e., they were using old forms and not telling customers the truth about material changes. In this case they were caught in their own contract and could do little else than move on to other assertions I made against them.
As indicated in the illustration above, there is a substantial difference in cost, more than a factor of 2 in their favor, between the list price for the Zoeller Model 510 I paid for and the Model 507 they installed; $849.00 and $353.00 respectively. I got these prices from a local Zoeller distributor who was kind enough to provided me with this information as well as good quality photographs showing the two DC backup pumps. The photos of the pumps also make it clear that no one could possible mistake the two pumps as being the same. Color aside, as the Zoeller Model 510 is white and Zoeller Model 507 is black, there are other significant differences. Of course exactly what they paid, and how much they saved by switching pumps, will likely never be known. The point is, once again they said one thing and did something else. The same old sorry refrain from a company that you have consumers believe they are “The Trusted Name in Waterproofing.
In a future posting I’ll provide details on the installation instructions for the two pumps. In that posting it will be clear that the work required to install the larger, more capable 510 is significantly more. This would save the work crew time doing the installation, which of course translates into larger profits.
In a future posting we’ll also examine the difference in pumping capacity between what I was supposed to get and what was delivered. Not surprisingly, the Zoeller Model 510 has a substantially higher pumping capacity that the smaller, cheaper, and easier to install Zoeller Model 507.
An AquaGuard subcontractor rip off, plain and simple. Of course all of this could have been avoided if AquaGuard actually cared to inspect the quality of the work performed at my house. Apparently that was beyond them even though their offices were less than 20 minutes drive from my house!
Next posting, we’ll begin to look at the faulty discharge piping that AquaGuard’s subcontractor installed.