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AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation Assessed $50,000 in Damages. Read Award of Arbitrator, Hearing Transcripts, and more

Every Story Has Two Sides

Rather than attempt to summarize here different points of view, I have included a table of various background documents, sworn testimonies gathered during the arbitration process, as well as the arbitrator “findings”. I’ve also included test reports proving the hazardous conditions generated by the work contracted to AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation.

References

DOCUMENT DESCRIPTION BACKGROUND COMMENTS AND REFERENCES
Arbitration “Findings” This document contains the comments of the arbitrator in the case of “Rzemien versus AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation”. In it you will read the arbitrator’s reasoning for finding AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation liable for Breach of Contract and Gross Negligence, resulting in an award of damages to us of more than $50,000. Documents List:
Finding title – Award – Final – Rzemien v AquaGuard 1 10 13 doc
Proposal, Contracts, and Addendums These documents were provided by AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation, filled out by their sales representative, and given to us. Documents List:
1. Proposal: AquaGuard Foundation Water Management System, dated Nov 2, 2011 – (Click here to view Proposal)
2. Contract Agreement, signed Nov 2, 2011 – (Click here to view First Contract Agreement)
3. Customer/Contractor Agreement, signed Nov 2, 2011 – (Click here to view Customer Contractor Agreement)
4. Contract Addendum, signed Nov 2, 2011 – (Click here to view First Contract Addendum)
5. Second Contract Agreement – (Click here to view Second Contract Agreement)
6. Contract Addendum, signed Nov 29, 2011 – (Click here to view Second Contract Addendum)
Asbestos, TVOCS, and Silica Dust Serious concerns regarding potential hazardous contaminators forces us to have a serious of tests performed.
In all cases the existence of hazardous materials were confirmed.
Documents List:
1. Asbestos Tiles and Mastic: (Click here to view ASBESTOS Bulk Sample Report)
2. Excessive Levels of Total Volatile Organic Compounds:(Click here to view report “Initial TVOC air sampling and testing”),(Click here to view report “Detailed TVOC composition report”)
3. Presence of Crystalline Silica Dust:(Click here to view “Dust Test Report”)
Emails Requesting Help On numerous occasions we sent emails with photos to AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation to alert them of issues, seek help, or to find out how they planned on addressing our concerns. Throughout the month of December we sent a dozen emails to them and NEVER received an email response. Follow the links to read some of those emails. Emails List:
1. Dissatisfaction with quality of work and request for help, Dec 7, 2011 – (Click here to view email “Dissatisfaction… …help”)
2. Followup from Water in basement Dec 7,2011 7/30 PM, more pictures on Dec 8, 2011 – (Click here to view email “Followup…”)
3. Dissatisfaction with service to date and expectations to resolve issues, Dec 9, 2011 – (Click here to view email “Dissatisfaction… …resolve issues”)
4. Expectations regarding proposed removal of tar material, Dec 13, 2011 – (Click here to view email “Expectations… …removal of tar material”)
5. Need to communicate with AquaGuard Waterproofing about tar removal efforts and plans following that work, Dec 16, 2011 – (Click here to view emal “Need to communicate… …plans following that work”)
6. Disappointment at effort to remove tar material, Dec 19, 2011 – (Click here to view email “Dissappointment… …tar material”)
7. Need for permit on waterproofing work on Ohio Avenue, Dec 30, 2011 – (Click here to view email “Need for permit…”)
8. Work stoppage at Ohio Avenue while assessing potential asbestos contamination, other issues, Dec 31, 2011 – (Click here to view email “Work stoppage at… …other issues”)
Arbitration Depositions After many weeks of frustration we felt we had no alternative but to take this matter to court. The contract, however, had a clause that forced us into arbitration. As part of that process, a number of pre-arbitration hearing depositions were taken. These are available to read. (THESE DOCUMENTS WILL BE POSTED ONCE I HAVE SECURE PERMISSIONS FROM APPROPRIATE PARTIES)
Deposition List:
1. AquaGuard Independent Inspector Deposition – AquaGuard Independent Inspector Depo Transcript 090612
2. AquaGuard Salesman Deposition – AquaGuard Sales Rep Depo Transcript 090612
3. AquaGuard General Manager Deposition – AquaGuard General Manager Depo Transcript 091212
4. Rzemien Contractor Deposition – Awaiting Permissions to Post
5. Rzemien Home Inspector Deposition – Awaiting Permissions to Post
6. Rzemien Deposition – Awaiting Permissions to Post
Hearing Transcripts The hearings in the matter of Rzemiens versus AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation lasted two days and are contained in two documents, one for each day. Deposition List:
1. Hearing Transcript – Day 1 – Arbitration Hearing – 110212
2. Hearing Transcript – Day 2 – Arbitration Hearing – 110512

33 comments on “AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation Assessed $50,000 in Damages. Read Award of Arbitrator, Hearing Transcripts, and more

  1. neimezr
    March 16, 2013

    I’ve been receiving some very nice replies to my “Thank You” notes sent to the various Maryland Delegates and Senators who supported the landmark “Transparency in Consumers Arbitration Act” of 2011. I told them that the arbitration process itself, while leading to an entirely appropriate damages award of more than $52,000, was both time consuming (took about 1 year) and expensive. Few consumers have the resources to pursue claims even in outrageous cases like mine with AquaGuard Waterproofing Corporation. Given that these representatives have a proven record of supporting consumer protection legislation, and given apparent inadequacies in existing Maryland law, I brought to their attention Chapter 93A of the General Laws of Massachusetts: “Regulation of Business Practices for Consumer Protection”. This law allows consumers to file a Demand Letter that, if unanswered within 30 days, results in treble damages being assessed. I’m not in favor of excessive damage awards but some penalty must be available to force action. Based on my personal experience with AquaGuard Waterproofing, getting a timely response to complaints can be very difficult.

    I’ll share some of these communications in future blogs.

  2. neimezr
    March 19, 2013

    I provided this post to help people identify differences between a sales pitch and truth, which aren’t always the same. Keep an eye on such things and ask lots of questions. Reputable contractors have nothing to hide!

  3. Mary
    March 30, 2013

    This is terrible. Why didn’t they just admit the mistake and send somebody to fix it that knew what they were doing. That had to be cheaper.

  4. RuneScape Gold
    June 26, 2013

    this is a very useful website!

    • Russ R
      July 6, 2013

      Thank you for the kind words. One of the messages I’m trying to get out is that we have to do more than simply trust the sales pitch. Everyone makes mistakes and it is, after all, your own home that they are working on. I wish I had paid closer attention, not only in selecting the contractor, but in monitoring the work as it progressed. Then again, I thought that was part of what I paid for. My bad. It won’t happen again and I hope my blog keeps it from happening to others. Best Regards, Russ

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    June 28, 2013

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    • Russ R
      July 6, 2013

      Thank you for the kind words. I hope people will learn from my real-life experience and all of us will be smarter when faced with home improvement projects. There are a lot of good people out there who simply get caught up in the misdeeds of a few bad apples, and that applies to companies as well as consumers. We all have “homework” to do, not only in finding the right solution to a problem but in making sure the work is done correctly!

  6. it’s a very good weblog and i like it very much!

    • Russ R
      July 6, 2013

      Thank you for the kind words. I hope my efforts will help people (consumers, contractors, government agencies) by educating them about the challenges we all face when home improvement projects are the order of the day. Best wishes, Russ

  7. Anonymous
    July 24, 2013

    We too had a horrible experience with Aquaguard. I would not recommend them to my worst enemy for any kind of work.

    • Russ R
      July 25, 2013

      Sorry to hear you had such an experience. Based on conversations I’ve had with other consumers, readings of reviews, and articles from organizations like Consumer Checkbook (if you haven’t seen it, check out the link to their article on waterproofing, under my posting “What To Look For and What To Avoid When Selecting a Contractor”, specifically the link “Tips on Basement Waterproofing”), waterproofing contractors run the gamut from good to really bad.

      We can’t undo the past, but we can advise decent people to think twice before blindly entering into a contractual relationship. My hope is to help consumers, contractors, really anyone involved in home improvements, avoid disaster by “doing their homework”. My blog provides various resources, tips, etc for folks like us. It also highlights what can happen when common sense rules are ignored or shortcuts are taken.

      Best Regards, Russ.

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    • Russ R
      July 29, 2013

      Thank you for the kind comments. The site design is important, otherwise the message may not get through. I hope to educated consumers, contractors, and government officials about the hazards awaiting those involved in home improvement programs. Take a minutes and read through some of the postings and be sure to tell you friends! Regards, Russ

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    August 5, 2013

    Hi there, I enjoy your website if I am trustworthy. Wherever did you receive it built?

    • Russ R
      August 5, 2013

      I use WordPress and started with their Suburbia template, at least that’s what I think it is called. From there, I add content via the Posting features in WordPress. As for style, etc., that is something I have to add. The graphics, etc I make off of PowerPoint, etc. Hope that helps. Regards, Russ

  10. Great blog post. It’s useful information.

    • Russ R
      August 6, 2013

      Thanks Fetang, Hopefully the information is useful to you and others who wish to avoid the challenges associated with contracting home improvement projects. Regards, Russ

  11. Hee Song
    August 20, 2013

    Hi,

    I had done outside Waterproofing with Aquaguard last September, however, it did not go well at all. Subcontactors were used. I don’t think they pulled the permits as promised. They did not finished the initial work for about a month although it was promised to be completed in 4 days. The work was sub-par. They re-did the work twice already, but It is still leaking. Now they want to try to fix from inside with no guarantee and no concern for the damage to the iniside the house and hazardous dusty environment it will create for our infant child at home. I am now concern about the mold too. I try to go through BBB and the Washington, D.C. government to get refund so I can hire someone else, but without any success. It is almost impossible to get in touch with anybody there. I have to make about 30 phone calls and wait about 3 weeks before I get any answers.

    I think my only option now is to sue them in the DC Superior court. Could you refer me a good lawyer you used? Do you have any court filing documents that I can leverage?

    I am just so tired of dealing with them. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated.

    • Russ R
      August 23, 2013

      Hi Hee Song,

      I’m so sorry to hear you are dissatisfied with the quality of the work and the response of the contractor. In addition to contacting and working with the contractor (always the first and best option!) it sounds like you are reaching out to the right organizations in attempting to resolve the issues. I believe going to a lawyer is the last thing you want to do as it is typically very expensive and certainly takes a long time if you end up pursuing legal action. You might want to look at your contract and see if there is an arbitration clause as this option is typically much less costly.

      As far as recommendations for lawyers, I have none. As I mentioned above, legal action is the course of last resort and I would not wish that on anyone, either you or the contractors. With respect to documents that would be of use, everything I have is posted on my website and downloadable. Other than potentially interesting reading, or more likely a cure for insomnia, I doubt these would be of any use to you. Of greater value are the various recommendations made in several documents reachable via links on the website. For example a good, concise set of options for action is available from the Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition (MCRC). Look for the link to the MCRC pamphlet titled: “MCRC Home Improvement Guide” under my blog post titled: “What To Look For and What To Avoid When Selecting A Contractor”

      Again, I’m sorry you are having troubles and wish you the best of luck resolving those. I set up my blog to help consumers and contractors avoid the problems we faced at my property and I hope everyone can benefit from the information provided, especially if it prevents the problems from happening in the first place!

      Best Regards, Russ

  12. mark anderson
    January 19, 2014

    Arbitration, on page 6 etc….in my honest, experienced opinion the arbitrator messed up apparently came to the conclusion there was no fraud or misrepresentation.

    Well OF COURSE there was fraud and misrepresentation! omg

    The company, salesman misrepresented the actual-problems!
    They misrepresented the actual problems in order to SELL and install the one thing they do, for SELF GAIN! That alone is fraud. Deceiving a homeowner, misrepresenting the problems, omitting material facts isn’t FRAUD?
    Sorry, but imo arbitrator wrong on this.

    Page 6, arbitrator apparently said the contractor committed NO unfair or deceptive trade practices……lol.
    NONSENSE!

    Not only did this company deceive, misrepresent etc the problems and ONLY solution, most interior basement drainage system companies do the SAME things, they most certainly do. See it for decades, photos to prove as well as homeowners to back it up.

    • Russ R
      January 23, 2014

      As they say, I had my day in “court” and the arbitrator found for us on the counts of breach of contract and gross negligence. With respect to the rest of it, the legal system can only do so much, all things considered, and I accept it for what it is. The rest is up to us, meaning we must get the truth out there to as many people as possible. This weekend I look forward to reviewing your site and making use of the material there, with your permission of course. The good news out of all this is I did find some great contractors to work with who addressed the real problems. That’s the part of our story that I’m focusing on now, contrasting what a reputable outfit does with my other sorry experiences. I’ll be in touch.

  13. mark anderson
    January 26, 2014

    Russ, of course…… so long as any-all my photos etc are used as I’ve stated, not used/expressed in any other way……. as facts, as the truth in order to help ANY homeowner who has a leaky basement and doesn’t know who/what to believe in searching for answers. Most of what is searched for and found on the INTERNET on this-subject is misinformation, misrepresented crap written, paid for, by inside system companies to further bs people and sway them into thinking they all need interior drainage systems, tired of it, tired of watching people get lied to, cheated

  14. mark anderson
    January 26, 2014

    Photos of exactly what I mean and similar to what happened to you Russ…..
    click each photo to ENLARGE….Harper Woods Michigan, block walls
    http://picasaweb.google.com/1010490345484960315932/BasementWaterproofing41
    2 different INTERIOR system co’s installed their incompetent crap here, they lied to the homeowner, they misrepresented the problems and only actual solution in order to install the one negligent thing they do, homeowner out $15,000++

    Water continues to enter through exterior cracks and cracked parging etc on the outside hence more mold and more efflorescence on basement walls and some cracks widening. NO interior system and sump repairs/waterproofs any of these actual problems, doesn’t stop the water from where its actually entering, never has, never will….homeowner STILL needs what they needed prior to this junk being installed inside the basement (exterior waterproofing!)

  15. mark anderson
    January 26, 2014
  16. mark anderson
    January 26, 2014

    Russ, others…..what about anything like this, deteriorated exterior blocks, wall bowed in, leaks etc. NO interior system repairs/waterproofs this either. NO interior system, no beams, no carbon fiver straps etc would stop-prevent further deterioration
    http://picasaweb.google.com/101049034584960315932/Crawlspace#5540665133328086770

    And what about those homeowner who have something like this, underground tree root that caused exterior cracks at-near corner which THEN allowed water to enter basement, NO interior system repairs/waterproofs anything like this either. Click each photo to enlarge, zoom in if you like
    http://picasaweb.google.com/101049034584960315932/BasementWaterproofing09

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  21. kinhip
    May 29, 2016

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  22. Chris
    November 28, 2017

    Sadly I am dealing with a similar issue through Mid-Atlantic Waterproofing they only installed 3 straps on a bowed wall which should have 8, water still seeps through the walls especially by our electrical panel. I worry about the wall falling in and the electric box shorting out not to mention mold

    • Mark Anderson
      February 8, 2019

      Chris, even if Mid Atlantic were to have installed 8 or 16 straps, they would not have removed, relieved, lessened the soil weight acting up the wall and wouldn’t have removed possible underground roots etc off the wall which often cause F wall cracks, bowed walls and to boot, if you have block or brick F walls then they should have told you those bowed in walls have exterior cracks where the water first enters into the walls and so installing any type of interior system and sump pump and 10-20 straps doesn’t waterproof the exterior wall cracks etc, sure sounds like another inept, incompetent and fraudulent sales job, sorry to hear

    • Mark Anderson
      February 8, 2019

      Chris, one video example of bowed in foundation wall and as I mentioned they all have exterior cracks that must be waterproofed, outside, so water doesn’t continue to enter and possibly cause mold https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipt5WgHqvJQ

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