You know that contractor from Tennessee I discussed in yesterdays blog post about the length of contractor forms, specifically, the length of your home improvement contract? Well he did end up faxing over a copy of the home improvement contract form he was using for re-siding a house... You know the one that was 8 PAGES long without the federal cancellation form! .... You know, the contract form that cost the contractor a $9000 re-siding job because the customer "needed to look it over" before signing and never called back?
When I pulled the papers from the fax machine, I expected to see a generic, "try to do everything", contract form that was overly long and "scary" because it included much more than was necessary for home improvement work. I was right... and I was wrong.
What I saw was a wordprocessor based form, downloaded from the internet as a contract for all "construction and improvement projects" sold to a Licensed Tennessee Home Improvement Contractor, that had notices and terms from at least TWO other states! and... This same Tennessee Home Improvement Contract, was missing the Tennessee required notices. It did not even have the the most basic TN notice... the notice giving contact information for the Tennessee Home Improvement Commission (THIC)!
Why was this Home Improvement Contract 8 Pages Long?
It had notices that the creator typed in from not just one, but two other states!
Instead of using the correct, home improvement 3-day cancellation notice, a single, small paragraph, the creator incorrectly used a "recission" notice for the sale of merchandise that took up half a page by itself.
It had a 3-day AND a (7-day) notice of cancellation form which the form creator included because, in their own words, the seven day notice is a "mandatory contract inclusion in many states". Guess what, the ONLY state that has a seven day notice to cancel is CALIFORNIA, so why add pages for that in an agreement for Tennessee or for any other state for that matter?
It had long detailed provisions for things like setbacks, lot lines, excavation, hard earth, things that are completely unnecessary for most home improvement jobs and certainly not needed for re-siding a house.
It was created in a wordprocessor program instead of a professional, page layout program... and wordprocessor forms are ALWAYS longer because wordprocessor programs are limited in what they can do.
The layout of the contract was very "homegrown" and not well thought out. This is the difference between typing and "typesetting". For example, things that should have been placed side by side were placed on their own line taking up twice the space.
No wonder the homeowners panicked when they saw this thing.