The RC Jones Company has cut communication with me aside from sending an invoice for roughly $25,000. This, it seems, is my penalty for blogging my life and allowing others to see. Silly me, I guess I should have read that clause in the contract that says my first amendment rights shall henceforth be permanently terminated upon signing. Damn, how could I have missed that?
What about my construction permit, does anyone know if it’s been canceled? Anyone? I’ve been told that it has. Although I haven’t given such permission to do so. After all, I am the one who paid something like $800 for it.
I called the City of Greenville building permits department on the day that Jim Hale, president of the RC Jones Company and the JD Hale Company, informed me that he was sending the proper paperwork to cancel the permit. It seems funny to me why a permit would be canceled before the work preformed has been inspected to assure code adherence. We had no deal at that time to do anything with our contract, or did we? Ya see, it’s as if Mr. Hale is simply doing and saying whatever he pleases in order to purposely confuse my wife and me. Why, I don’t know. I think you’ll be able to form your own ideas if you read on.
Now, I don’t know anything about building walls-to-nowhere, but I can only assume that mine does not meet proper code. Then again, maybe it does. Don’tcha think that should be left to an inspector of some type before the permit is canceled or before a company simply abandons a project?
It could be that a company president feels like being a Richard because he had his IP address blocked. I wonder this has anything to do with my blog recently receiving multiple, non-referring hits from attorney’s offices and Internet security firms? PingPingPing….Ping….Ping…Ping….PingPingPing
Taking these circumstances into account, I can only assume a few different scenarios that might (or might not, I don’t really know) be happening:
A) My project has been abandoned by the RC Jones Company…or maybe it’s the JD Hale Co, who knows;
B) RC Jones Co. is delaying the inspection because the wall-to-nowhere doesn’t meet proper code;
C) El Presidente Jim Hale is trying to do whatever is necessary to obtain money without actually having to work for it;
D) I’m being taught a lesson to keep my blogging out of the realm of truth;
E) All of the above; and/or
F) None of the above because this is the standard by which all contractors operate, subsequently labeling me a fool for thinking ethical conduct plays into the world of the construction business
I’m seeking advice from anyone who has an idea of how to proceed. Below is an exchange of emails over the last two weeks. In all fairness, I feel it’s necessary to publish the emails in their entirety. I do apologize for the length. However, the details within will allow you to make your own decision about the personality, integrity, and ethical conduct of the two parties involved. These, as well as all of the previous editions of the RC Jones Chronicles should give you a pretty good picture as to what is happening. Zip me a comment or send me some advice. Comments can be anonymous at your discretion.
I’ll pick up from the end of the last post. Only email communication has occurred since that time.
To: Jamie Decker – Aug 27, 2008
CC: Jim Hale
Jamie, The big blue dumpster has been at [my address] Overbrook since approximately August 12, 2008. It’s been used three times since then. The first time was to clear the RC Jones construction debris from my yard, debris that has been in my yard and killing my grass since the middle of June. As hardened concrete, a wooden pallet, and an unused bag of concrete remain killing another portion of my yard, RC Jones had neglected for the past two months to clean up the mess left behind by your subcontractors. The second time the dumpster was used was when you had your crew make good on your mistake of throwing away my 2x6x16 pressure treated lumber that I had stacked neatly under my carport. Had you spoken with John Riley, you would have known that the lumber in question was to remain in place. The third time the dumpster was used was this past weekend when I personally continued the cleanup responsibilities that RC Jones should have taken care of from the beginning of the project but has neglected to do so. I’m specifically talking about the two 10′ metal posts and a metal plate spanning the two posts that were formerly used to support my deck. Until this past weekend when I moved them, these concrete-laden items had been laying in my yard since the middle of June. After two months and repeated requests for cleanup to you and to Mr. Hale, it is apparent to me that RC Jones has no intention of cleaning the remaining debris for which they are responsible. Please remove the dumpster from my property immediately.
From: Jim Hale – Aug 27
In our meeting last Thursday you had indicated your intent to terminate our agreement. I ask if we needed or could do any thing further. You stated that we could not and you did not want us on you property again. We order the dumpster to be removed as of last Friday and today they indicated that it will be removed this afternoon. We will be more than happy to remove any other debris as needed. I have also attached a copy of the form mailed to you to terminate the agreement. If you would sign the form and return it for our records, I would be most appreciated.
I am writing this letter in response to our last meeting and conversation on August 21, 2008. You expressed your desire and request that the construction agreement between the two of you and R.C. Jones, Co. be terminated and cancelled immediately.
I have contacted the city building department and a representative will or has inspected our work up to current to include the block foundation. They will insure our work meets current building codes and cancel our building permit on the project. You must assume all responsibility and liability from this point.
Please sign below to confirm you intention to immediately terminate and cancel the contract for the new maser bedroom, kitchen, laundry room, bathroom and deck remodel project as well as all other aspects of the contract dated April 10, 2008 and signed and executed on May 29, 2008. Please also confirm that R.C. Jones, Co is entitled to recover all material, labor, proportionate overhead and any other fees that apply to the project to include those permit fees charged by the City of Greenville. Upon returned receipt of this letter with signatures, I will sign on behalf of R.C. Jones, Co and return a copy for your records.
How I Wish I Would Have Responded:
Jim, Thank you for such a fabulous contracting experience. I have signed and returned the attached document, subsequently giving up all of my rights and allowing you to charge me for whatever you wish. In addition, I’ve enclosed a signed blank check. Go ahead and just make it out to yourself for any amount you feel is fair. You’ve done such a good job handling this situation that and I can’t wait until I can tell all of my friends and relatives about your tremendous efforts to keep me satisfied. Should you have a grandson similar in age to my daughter, I would be more than happy to discuss a betrothal at this time. Sincerely, Your Bestest Buddy
How I Actually Responded: – Aug 27
Mr. Hale, Thank you for your quick response to both my previous email and the recognition of the fact that the blue dumpster is no longer necessary at [my address] As it pertains to the agreement attached in your last email, I believe that it’s prudent to examine any additional costs that RC Jones believes are outstanding before signing. In an effort to expedite the situation, I would ask that you provides for me a detailed line-item invoice for any additional costs that the RC Jones Company believes are outstanding. If applicable, please include a copy of the original invoice from the party of origin for any work subcontracted by RC Jones as it pertains to the project at [my address]
From : Jim Hale: Aug 28
Mr. [Me] The amount of the bank check was pretty close to the past expenses.
Job materials/Labor – $6,032.91
Payroll expenses – $ 85.79
Postage and Delivery – $ 4.90
Disposal – $ 335.00
Permits/Fees – $ 823.14
Profit/Overhead – $3,000.00
At this point I need to receive the termination letter to clear my license and liability.
To: Jim Hale – Aug 29
Mr. Hale, Thank you again for your prompt response. I will be in touch soon. If you would, please let me know when the building inspector reports back to you on the wall.
From: Jim Hale – Aug 29
Mr. [Me], I have spoken with the city of Greenville today and they will cancel the permit today when they receive a letter from me with the request to cancel. I will deliver the letter this afternoon and we will be complete. You may also disregard the $281.00 overage in expenses. Good luck with the project in the future and if we may be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us. Last thing – If any unsecured door or opening from the main level is open to the ground area below due to the removal of deck structure, please secure it at once due to the danger of someone getting hurt if they fall. I you need assistance in securing the doorway we will be glad to help at no expense to you.
To: Jim Hale – Aug 29
Hey Jim, I assume that you still need the signed document that you sent to me the other day, correct?
From Jim Hale: Aug 31
[Me], Yep! I need that notice to cancel everything out. The city did cancel the permit and we are free from the city stand point. Again If I may be of further assistance in any way – please do not hesitate to call.
To Jim Hale: – Aug 31
Hey Jim, I’d like to add a little language to our mutually agreed upon contract cancellation form. Nothing major, just some standard language to protect from liens against my home, etc. My lawyer is writing it up for me. I’ll have it sent to you when he’s finished with it. If you approve, we’ll start the signing phase. Also, I noticed that you sent me a registered letter. Unfortunately, the post office from which it came, Laurens Rd at Pleasantburg, is only open until 5pm M-F. Neither [my wife] nor I get home until at least 5:30pm every day. They have Saturday hourse, and I tried to pick it up yesterday but the office was closed for the holiday. Therefore, I won’t be able to pick it up until this coming Saturday. If the content of the package is time-sensetive and you can email it to me, I would appreciate it if you did so. If you can’t email, can you at least tell me what it is? I can guararentee that my lawyer will advise me not to sign anything until we have an idea of what the package contains. Otherwise, I’ll pick it up in about six days. One last thing: I called the Gvl City permits/inspections on Friday afternoon approx. 4:30pm. I was told that the permit was still valid. I’ll call again on Tuesday to see if there has been any further progress.
From Jim Hale – Sept 2
I have been willing to do what ever it takes to make you happy. I have told you that we are willing to complete the agreement as it states or make the changes of those things you wish to add. I simply can not give you over $20,000.00 worth of work for no additional charge. I understand this upsets you and we have apologized for any inconvenience we may have caused you. You have ask to terminate the agreement and we are doing so. I ask you to remove the negative story about the situation(blog). Yesterday a couple of friends of ours came over and one of them showed me the stories on the internet. At this point I would like to know what your intent is with this story?
To Jim Hale – Sept 3
Mr. Hale, I do apologize if my last email upset you. Please allow me to assure you that I in no way want you to give me $20,000 in any form or fashion. I mean no harm to you and/or RC Jones with my actions of consulting legal assistance. I’m simply consulting with someone more qualified than I am as it pertains to contracts and agreements for the purpose of protecting my family and my home. Per statements in a previous email, you took the same actions of consulting legal advice as well as consulting the SC Department of LLR pertaining to your liability of releasing the [our] family from contract.
I would hope that you recognize that the [our] family dwelling is the only home that we have; it’s the home for our children and it’s our largest investment. It is my job to protect my family and our investments as I believe is necessary. As there is a document sent to me via registered letter by RC Jones awaiting pickup at the post office on Laurens Rd., I can only assume that this is important information that needs to be considered when consulting legal advice.
I do apologize that picking up the letter is taking longer than you expected, but this is out of my control due to the standard business hours of the post office as well as the Labor Day holiday. I ask that you trust me when I say that I, too, am eager to bring our business to an end as quickly as possible so that we may both continue with our personal lives and professional livelihoods.
To answer your question regarding my future intent of my blog, I will tell you that I will most likely continue to blog for the rest of my life. Your question leads me to believe that you have some unsettled issues with my views of my personal life events. Those issues remain unstated to me aside from a blanket request to take my blog offline. My blog is a personal collection of my thoughts, creative writing, statements, comments, expressions, opinions, ideas, creative works, et al. The intent of my blog is nothing more than a chronicle of my life, much like a photograph or a personal home video. It is a portion of my history and the history of my family. The contents within are protected for me by the 1st amendment of the US Constitution. As such, my blog plays no part in our business negotiations. There is no legal, moral or ethical basis for removing my blog or any of the posts within.
In a good faith effort to move forward with your offer to let us out of the contract without paying a 25% penalty, and also in an effort to keep our business negotiations separate from my personal life, I will give you my word as a Christian man that once our business negotiations come to a complete close, I will be more than happy to speak with you about the aspects of my blog with which you are troubled.
From: Jim Hale – Sept 3
The registered letter is a copy of the pre-attached letter of release. It is exactly the same. No need to wait to finalize the process as you may sign the copy you have. As for the blog – I understand now that a blog is like a virtual diary or journal if that is the way you are using it. I was asking about your intent as far as all comments about the relationship and experience with us. I am asking if you intend to keep the posting relating to R.C. Jones, Co and J.D. Hale, Co.?
From: Gail Craig, the RC Jones Administrative Assistant – Sept 5
Dear [my wife and I] :
Your invoice is attached. Payment is due upon receipt of this invoice. Payments not received within 10 days a late fee of 12% monthly interest will be added.
(editor note: total amount of the invoice is $24,340.00 This does not take into consideration the $10,000 already paid for work provided)
To: Jim Hale – Sept 5
What is this all about? Have you changed your mind from our previous agreement that we’ve been discussing for the last week over email?
From: Jim Hale – Sept 8
Mr. [Me], From our first meeting to our last communication I have been trying to work with you. I have been more than willing to complete the project as outlined in the agreement. You have indicated that you are a journalist – meaning you read and write for a living. With that I am sure with that you must be able to comprehend what you read. Yet, you tell me that you did not understand the provisions of the agreement. I find that very hard to believe. Not one thing in our easy to understand detailed agreement did it say anything about a new total house HVAC system, larger and relocated deck with cover for parking or totally finished basement which would double the square foot addition. Just the contrary, it states directly the size and location of the deck, that we would connect the ductwork to the existing unit and we were to install garage doors on the basement area with a partial concrete pad. The bank understood this and made your loan based on it. When Jamie and I reviewed the agreement with you and you brought this up, you ask us for the price to change the agreement to include these items. At that point we walked through the house and went outside and you told us the size and location of the deck you wanted as we also discussed the details of the finished basement and options on the HVAC unit. We arranged to get the HVAC contractor in to look at your system and we gathered the additional information needed for the change. When we returned and told you the additional cost for the changes, you made us feel as if I did not GIVE you the changes you wanted to terminate the agreement. I told you I could not and you did terminate the agreement. I felt bad for you and your family. At this point you have not returned the form I sent you and you continue to attack me, my workers and my company. I have experienced and continue to experience cost associated with this project. I have been advised to exercise my legal right and collect the termination fee.
I subsequently followed up with this email with an amended termination-of-contract agreement with language that protects my family from liens against my home should RC Jones decide not to pay his subcontractors. Pretty standard stuff. I also pointed out in the email the numerous deceptive tactics that RC Jones has used for monetary gain. The biggest of which is spelled out in the emails above if you can read between the lines a bit. As soon as I stated in writing: “Please allow me to assure you that I in no way want you to give me $20,000 in any form or fashion.”, Jim Hale promptly slapped me with an invoice for $24,340.00. Do you think this gave him assurance that I wasn’t going to proceed with legal action? If he had intended to not charge me a termination fee, why would he have stated above, “ You may also disregard the $281.00 overage in expenses.”
So tell me, what should I do?
(Editor’s Note) We are the target audience for home improvement, repair and restoration companies such as The R.C. Jones Company. We are of the right age and income. I understand that such a target audience tends to find product and service references via the Internet. My review is not intended as one of malicious intent, but only as a truthful review of promise, service and contract with the RC Jones Company. I will continue to update the RC Jones Chronicles with the experiences of my family, as we see them, over the coming months and until the project is complete. The RC Jones Company provides home improvements and commercial improvement, repair, restoration, construction, and several other similar services. They are based out of Mauldin, SC, and service cities surrounding the Greenville, Spartanburg, Simpsonville and Anderson South Carolina markets. The J.D. Hale Company (JD Hale, Co) is a wholly owned subsidiary of the RC Jones Company. Jim Hale is the owner of the RC Jones Company. JD Hale construction company advertises using the following words: Build Remodel Roofing.
The RC Jones Company Chronicles
Part I – The RC Jones Company of Greenville, SC: A Woeful Home Improvement Experience
Part II – The RC Jones Company Chronicles: The Project Manager Switcheroo
Part III – The RC Jones Company Chronicles: A Soccer Metaphor of My Week
Part IV – The RC Jones Company Chronicles: What Now Pow Wow
Part V – The RC Jones Company Chronicles: Hoffa Found Alive, Concept Confuses Project Manager
Part VI – The RC Jones Company Chronicles: Always Have An Exit Strategy
Part VII – The RC Jones Company Chronicles: A Glimpse Into Personality
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