KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Knoxville couple paid a big deposit for a sunroom more than seven months ago, but as of December 13, they have nothing to show for it.
The project never got off the ground. No building materials were ever delivered even though the contractor received the $13,000 deposit last April. The contractor told WATE’s Don Dare, he expects to refund all the money the couple gave him.
The screened-in back porch of Joe and Ruth Andrick’s home has been a comfortable place to rest. However, last spring they decided to convert the 20-year-old porch into a sunroom, so they could use it year-round. They were expecting the job to be finished by October.
“All of the old screen and old wood was to be taken down. Then it was all supposed to be glass windows and glass walls all the way around, three sides,” said Ruth.
“He was going to replace the whole bottom end with a glass enclosure, 24 kick pan on the bottom a sliding glass door, and HVAC. And, ah, it just never happened,” said Joe.
They were optimistic in April when they struck a deal with Sunrooms Express of Knoxville but that optimism has faded.
“It’s been anything but relaxing and a happy place. There is nothing happy about this right now,” said Joe.
The contract was drawn up and signed on April 29. The total price was $42,900 and the owner of Sunrooms Express asked for a third down.
“He wanted a deposit of $12,900. That was against a total cost of $42,900. I said to my wife get the checkbook, write a check and let’s get this underway,” said Joe.
“No one ever stepped foot on this property after he left with our money,” said Ruth.
The man they’re referring to is Barry Smith, the operator of Sunrooms Express. In the small print of the contract, Smith is given up to two months to start the job or maybe longer.
“In the contract, it does say 30 to 60 days. Then he said that they were really busy so he wrote on top here, he said it would be more like August or September,” said Ruth.
“I sincerely thought by fall, meaning in September, latest October, it would be finished. It never, it never got started,” said Joe.
On October 3, the couple received a voicemail from Smith.
“Hey Joe, this is Barry with Sunrooms. Your materials have been ordered a while. All your metal is on the dock in Nashville. We’re building everything, everybody is happy. We just can’t build them fast enough,” Smith said in the voicemail.
However, the Andrick’s project never got built and remains unfinished. Smith agreed to talk with WATE. He said after the Andrick’s hired an attorney, he did too. Dare asked about the $13,000 deposit and why the job never started.
“We deposited [the deposit] to buy the materials,” said Smith.
“But the materials were never delivered,” asked Dare.
“No, we don’t get the materials delivered until we are ready to start the job. We were behind, we lost 4 crews due to health,” replied Smith.
Smith said presently the Andricks’ attorney and his lawyer are working on an amicable agreement.
“We’re sending a response back today for a settlement. We already have arbitration through a lawyer and we’re going to send them back a settlement,” said Smith.
“All we wanted was to have just a nice quiet little room out there so we can sit and relax. You know, have a quiet evening. And this has just been a nightmare,” said Ruth.
A second Sunrooms Express customer contacted WATE. They told us construction on their $40,000 sunroom was supposed to start in June, However, nothing has started, and Smith continues to hold their $13,400 deposit.
This is a developing story. Download the WATE 6 News app or sign up for our email alerts for updates.
According to the Better Business Bureau, Sunrooms Express in Knoxville has an “F” rating.