Total Remodeling of Union NJ is bad people

The short form: Total Remodeling of Union NJ (the same people are at Total Renovation Center) called me even though I am on the National “Do Not Call” list. I did some followup research and found they have been successfully sued by the state of New Jersey concerning their Do-Not-Call practices.

Total Remodeling has agreed to pay $123,500 to settle the alleged telemarketing violations and $23,000 to reimburse the state for its investigative costs and attorneys’ fees. The company also agreed to pay $5,000 to settle alleged violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act and/or accompanying regulations.

This announcement in it’s entirety appears at the end of this post.

————————————————–

At 1:57pm today, 9-16-04, I got a call… Here’s how it went:

[click click... autodialer pause]
Me: Hello?
Him: Hi, is this Mr. Sunco [slightly mispronounced]?
Me: Yes.
Him: “Hi, this is [I missed the name] from Total Remodeling. [Something about their company wanting to remodel my home].
Me: [putting on a chipper voice, hoping to scam the scammer] What was your name again?
Him: It’s [grunt] [click. hangup]

  • *69 “The number of your last incoming call was 908-686-1443″
  • Google for “908-686-1443″. Nothing
  • Google for “908-686″. Found several businesses in Union, NJ.
  • Google for ““Total Remodeling” NJ“. Found their company in Union NJ.

Contact Information:
Total Remodeling
Neil Parsons
1767 Rte. 22, West
Union, NJ 07083
Phone: 908-686-5788
Fax: 908-686-7810

Me: Hi I was just on the phone with someone from Total Remodeling and we got disconnected.
Happy Woman’s voice: Maybe I can help. What was this about?
Me: Actually, it was about an unsolicited call I got. You see, I’m on the National Do Not Call List.
Happy Woman’s voice: Ok. Hang on just a minute.
[music on hold]
Greg: Hi, this is Greg. Can I help you.
Me: I just got a call from someone at Total Remodeling. The trouble is, I’m on the National Do Not Call List.
Greg: Sorry about that. We’re still working the bugs out of that system. Are you at [he recites my phone number].
Me: Yes.
Greg: I’ll make sure we take you off the list.
Me: Alright. Have a good day.

  • Curious, I do a little more homework online and find that Total Remodeling has been named in a Do Not Call list lawsuit in the year 2000.
  • I call back Greg.

Me: Hi Greg, I just did a little homework and found that your company has been making unsolicited calls for a long while. You really shouldn’t be doing that. So I filed a complaint at DoNotCall.gov and I’m making a web page to tell everyone about my experience with you.
Greg: Sorry you feel that way [or some nondescript apology like that]
Me: Bye. [hangup]

Here is the announcement from the state of NJ in it’s entirety:

RELEASE January 12, 2006. Contact Kelley Heck, 609-777-2600

Codey Announces First Settlement Under State’s Do Not Call Law
Company Agrees to Pay $151,500 to Resolve Lawsuit

(TRENTON) – Governor Richard J. Codey today announced the state has settled a lawsuit with a Union Township business for alleged violations of the state’s Do Not Call Law, the first such telemarketing case to be resolved.

“We won’t tolerate those who violate the law and intrude upon our residents when they are enjoying quality time at home with their families,” Codey said. “Peace and quiet is a precious commodity in our fast-paced world, and it shouldn’t be disrupted by unwanted intrusions.”

Total Remodeling, Inc. (“Total Remodeling”) agreed to pay $151,500 and comply with provisions of the state’s Do Not Call Law under terms of the settlement filed in State Superior Court in Union County. The state filed suit against the company last May.

“We will continue to protect consumers from unwanted calls that disrupt important family time,” Attorney General Peter Harvey said. “New Jersey consumers should not be harassed by telephone sales pitches, which are as annoying as door-to-door solicitations.”

New Jersey residents who registered for the No Telemarketing Call List filed complaints with Consumer Affairs alleging that they received telemarketing calls by or on behalf of Total Remodeling. The state also alleged that the company made telemarketing calls without being registered with Consumer Affairs as legally required.

Deputy Attorney General Nicholas B. Armstrong represented the state in this action. The Union County CALA office worked with the state on this matter.

Total Remodeling has agreed to pay $123,500 to settle the alleged telemarketing violations and $23,000 to reimburse the state for its investigative costs and attorneys’ fees. The company also agreed to pay $5,000 to settle alleged violations of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act and/or accompanying regulations.

Under the settlement, Total Remodeling agreed to:

•Register with Consumer Affairs as a telemarketer before making future telemarketing calls;

•Refrain from calling customers on the No Telemarketing Call List;

•Refrain from representing to a customer that intra-state telemarketing sales calls are not subject to provisions of the Do Not Call Law;

•Train employees in telemarketing rules and procedures as legally required;

•Establish and implement written procedures to comply with the Do Not Call Law as legally required; and

•Disclose the name of the person calling, the name of the telemarketing entity making the call, the name of the person or entity on whose behalf the call is being made and the purpose of the call within the first 30 seconds as legally required.

“Let me ask all the telemarketers who aren’t complying with our Do Not Call Law – can you hear me now? Our message is simple: obey the law or face the consequences. As we’ve shown in this matter, Consumer Affairs will investigate and take action on behalf of residents,” Consumer Affairs Director Kimberly Ricketts said.

The settlement entered by the state and Total Remodeling constitutes a dismissal of all claims asserted in the action, including those alleged against Matrix Management and Marketing Group (“Matrix”), a company closely related to Total Remodeling and named in the May lawsuit. Total Remodeling has represented that Matrix did not make telemarketing calls as alleged.

58 Comments

  1. Betty says:

    Don’t you have anything else better to do with your time? At least this people are not on the streets, they earn an honest living…did you ever think for 1 minute that the telemarketers are college students trying to earn money to pay for their tuition or maybe even a retired man trying to save money for his grandchildren to go to college….There are even war veterens that have served out country who are telemarketers!! That’s right!!! Bet you never thought of that!!! Life is too short!!!! Find something better to do with your time!

  2. Lee says:

    Betty, I was put on the Do Not Call list for a reason. Because life is too short. I don’t want to have to deal with telemarketers. Bet you never thought of that.

    Without the do not call list, I’d get 4 calls a day, every day for crap I don’t need. I’ve been there. Now THAT is a waste of time.

  3. Betty says:

    Exactly life is too short! Don’t sweat the small stuff! If you can spend time out of your day….to design a web page for such a silly issue then you obvisouly have a ton of time on your hands! 4 Calls a day…C’Mon are you serious? Just don’t answer the phone! Or politely say…I’m not interested! As I said before, at least these people are not running the streets…they are earning an honest living. And hey one day you might get a telemarketing call that you just might need what they are offering…you never know!

  4. Lee says:

    You write “…honest…”

    Please refer to my original post, especially the “…lawsuit…” part.

  5. Betty says:

    WHO CARES!!!!!!!!!!! THE COMPANY ALREADY GOT IN TROUBLE….MOVE ON!!! GET A LIFE….

  6. Lee says:

    You apparently care enough to YELL.

  7. Jilllynn says:

    You are both really passionate about this…let’s agree to disagree.

    Lee, you are so right. Do not call means do not call. You can’t really argue with that.

    Betty, yes, there are people at the other end of the telemarketers call and they are doing it for some, hopefully noble, purpose. For that purpose…they can call the people on the Please call list. Is there such a list? Well, somewhere, there must be.

    Hugs, guys.

  8. bronxyone says:

    The Do Not Call list should be the least of their problems. They may have a nice product..and great salesmen to sell it, however, once you sign the contract..you are stuck with nasty production staff, rude management and messy contractors who lack customer service and communication skills. Its no wonder you have to sign a contract that states “you have 3 days to cancel”, It takes 4 days before you speak to anyone in the office. I really wish my experience was better.

  9. b wolf says:

    neil parsons is a cheating home wrecker

  10. bushka says:

    Hi. I just found this site because I’m considering doing a renovation with Total. I see a bad review from bronxyone and wonder if this is typical of their work?

  11. Lee says:

    All I can say is what I know.

    They continued to illegally telemarket to people on the Federal Do Not Call List, not only after the law was passed but after they were being sued. That doesn’t speak well of them. Tell us how it works out for you.

  12. bushka says:

    I’ll let you know if I use them. We’re visiting 2 happy customers to look at their work. I’m thinking this may be a case of a company changing some management and improving themselves. I know the guy I’ve dealt with has been there about 3 years, and brought a crew of people who have been with him for many years. So I’ve seen a couple of negatives on this company, but they seem to do a lot of work and have a lot of happy customers, too. There’s one thing I hate, though, and that’s a telemarketer who won’t take NO for an answer… so that kind of bothers me. Maybe they learned their lesson.

  13. Don B says:

    I’ve had a number of calls from Total Remodeling in the past. It all started out about 2 or three years ago when I contacted them about a new roof.

    They offered a free, in home estimate. Turns out that it was a high-pressure sales pitch, with the salesperson demanding, and repeating over and over again that I need to sign the contract now, otherwise a “discount” would no longer apply. I told this man over and over again that they were the first company I’d spoken with, and would prefer to get estimates from a few other contractors. But again, he kept warning me about how I’d miss out on the discount.

    Eventually, I simply told him that we were finished talking, and that it was time for him to leave. He packed up all his materials, didn’t leave the written estimate, never left a business card, slammed my front door and peeled out of my driveway.

    I later found out that Total Remodeling was under investigation by the State for unfair business practices. It turns out that requiring a consumer to sign right away in order to take advantage of a discounted price is a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

    Combine all that with the extremely unprofessional manner of their representative, and I’d tell you to avoid this company completely.

    Read about their antics here…

    http://nj.gov/oag/ca/press/unionco.htm

  14. Daniel G says:

    I work for a company that does services for contractors. with all these crazy reviews, i am wondering if doing business with them is a good idea…

    p.s I am also a telemarketer but here in my company, we ONLY call business owners at there place of business. Despite the threats i sometimes get, is there a do not call list for business too?

  15. bushka says:

    Well I see I last posted here in April when we were taking bids on a renovation. I had a final meeting with Total that was supposed to be an on the spot detailed estimate to do the job. When the Total salesman sat down, he seemed to forget why he was there. He said, “OK so if the figure we discussed is OK then we can proceed with the contract.” I reminded him, “Uh, isn’t the purpose of your being here to give me an accurate estimate for the work?” “Oh, sure, we can do that!” His friend came with him, and wouldn’t shut up for a minute. He was cracking jokes left and right while we were trying to work on details. REALLY unprofessional. At the end of it all, he give me a highball figure of $300K to which I say that is way too high, and much higher than other estimates. “OK, so what do you want to pay?” I said it certainly had to be under $250K. “OK, we’ll do it for $249K, how’s that sound!” Well it didn’t sound so good. I knew at that point our business was done. The whole thing was a sham to highball a figure and then see how much $ I had to spend. (In our first meeting this guy said joked that he had clever ways of knowing how much I had to spend!) I really should have told him I have $1 to spend, so what is the minimum you are willing to do the job for, but I knew at that point I wasn’t going near them anyway. I am currently in the middle of construction with a great contractor who was actually the lowest bid. I’m very happy with the work and cooperation to this point. If anyone needs an honest contractor in northern NJ, let me know.

  16. lee says:

    sorry but there is no Do Not Call list for businesses.

  17. Sharad says:

    Bushka and Lee, I am happy I stumbled upon this blog by accident.

    We are also considering Total Remodelling and were shocked by their prices.

    Do you know a good contractor. We live in East Brunswick NJ

  18. bushka says:

    Sharad – send me an email at dwhite300@verizon.NOSPAMnet and I can provide you with my phone number. I’d be happy to talk to you about my experience to date with our contractor. I’m pretty sure he’d be interested in working in East Brunswick. Our house is in the middle of a 6 month rebuild, so I can speak from some experience on this contractor.

    FYI – I have no financial interest in my contractor. I think he does a great job, and want to help someone who is looking for an honest contractor, and also to help him get new business, too.

    bushka

  19. bushka says:

    Sharad – I never heard from you. Did you find a contractor? If not you really should talk to my guy. He just saved me about $2500 on appliances. That’s a savings on top of the best deals I could make or find online. My guy does’t upcharge for appliances. He passes his cost on to me.

    Regards,
    bushka

  20. Jin says:

    Hey Betty,

    I don’t mind telemarketers but those that can’t stay within the bounds of the law should be stopped. Also a company that continues to break this law just paints a picture of the company as a whole.

    I had them come over for a “quote”. Note I mentioned to the operator taking my call and the sales guy that I was not going to close on any deal that day. I couldn’t get this guy to leave the house. He magically re-worked the numbers over and over and reduced the quote by more than 20%. This flagged them in my book as suspicious. I never asked them for a cheaper price just that I was collecting quotes.

  21. Anthony says:

    Hello Bushka,

    I am planning an addition on my home in Somerset Country, NJ. I met Total Renovation Center during a home show a couple weeks ago and found them to be too aggressive to my liking. They are interested to talk, but not particularly interested in the project itself. They just called to make an appointment with them, but after seeing the feedbacks I cancelled the appointment. I need a contractor that I can trust right from the beginning. You mentioned a contractor that you recommended. I will be very interested to chat with you about your experience with your contractor and your project. I try to send you an email at dwhite300@verizon.NOSPAMnet, but it was undeliverable. Can you list your email address again. Thanks.

  22. Bushka says:

    Anthony – I received your email and replied to you. I think you have to take the NOSPAM out of the address before you send it. I left you my phone number so just give a call whenever…

  23. Edmund says:

    I use to work for Total Remodeling for about 5 years and I assure you that I know all there tactics. I left there company because of the schedule they had giving me, and my health suffered somewhat, not to mention there unscrupulous work ethics. However I am back and feel better than ever. I had my own Remodeling business for 18 years before I joined them. If you are interested in learning more about my experience with them and myself I recommend you contact me, I would love to discuss any problems you may have had with this company or discuss any projects you may have in the future. I can assure you that my experience and honesty will impress you. By the way I have plenty of past customers who will explain there experience with me and I have a great portfolio.

    . if you would like to meet someone who has more knowledge than most of those salesmen, please contact me, I promise you have nothing to lose and evething to gain

  24. Tom says:

    Hey Edmund,

    How to contact you? I just signed the contract and I want to cancel it after reviewing the feedback.

    Tom.

  25. anthony says:

    Tom,

    All home improvement contract should legally have a 72 hours clause for you to cancel the contract. see: http://www.state.nj.us/oag/ca/brief/improve.pdf

    “Signed contracts may be canceled by a consumer for any
    reason before midnight of the third business day after you
    receive a copy of the contract. Put the cancellation in
    writing and either personally deliver it to the contractor
    or send it registered or certified mail, return receipt
    requested. A photocopy of your cancellation should also
    be sent via regular first-class mail.”

    Good Luck,

    Anthony

  26. catia says:

    I am 9/10ths of the way done with my kitchen, master bath, and addition. I am surprised at some of the feed back I am reading. The experience has been night and day to what is written here. I only looked at this because I suggested to a friend to use Total, and they came back to me with this site. Had I known of this site prior to getting the work done it might have skewed my judgement. Much to my liking , the job that is 95 % done and is fantastic, on budget, and ahead of schedule. I only have final inspections left and the painters are frantically working to bring my home back together. By the way the work is great! The job super they have doing my job is a true professional. The job has taken 2 months without a delay, (When all other contractors said it would take 3-4 months)it has had some hiccups, but who doesn’t, considering the hiccups were because I changed and added………..well more than a few items. Ha Ha! The job has been cleaned every day, and the workers are great. There price was in the high middle of the pack. I had 6 contractors look at the job in which 3 showed up. Total was the only company that worked down every detail for me and my husband. I would gladly reccomend anyone to them. I beleive that the saleman was direct and to the point and, had a world of knowledge to offer us. If anyone wants pictures I would be happy to send them to you. I’m sure that the work I have done to my home is more than most people have done to thier homes. This is the third home we’ve owned and the 4th contractor that has worked for us, and by far Total has prooved to us thier dedication to the customer.

    P.S. Your right I don’t like pushy telemarketers, and I never met this Neil person.

    signed
    Happy Homeowner(Catia)

  27. Antony says:

    Hi Catia,
    It was nice to read a good review after so many negatives about Total. Could you publish your contact, so that I can get some more feedback from you. I was actively thinking of using Total.

  28. Antony says:

    Total did it again. They high balled an initial estimate of $140,000. After a week when I did not call back, they called me and left a message that their company came up with a new incentive, by which they can do all the work in $99,000.
    How can any contractor offer an incentive of $40K just like that. So either they are hard pressed for business, or as some posted here, they try to first throw a big number and cut down the moment they feel its going to back fire. Unethical business practice. You only loose a customer by doing this, and not please them.

  29. Don Knight says:

    Total Remodeling does terrible work, poor quality workmanship, installation, after sales support.

    Do not us them if you want to be happy!

    I am not!

  30. Elle says:

    Agreed with the above, def do not use, very unprofessional staff, we used a great contractor that redid our 2 bathrooms and kitchen and saved us a ton of money. If interested ping me at elleamber@vzw.blackberry.net.NOSPAM

  31. Frank says:

    I agree with Don and Elle, above.
    Although I used Total back in 2006-7, I’d like to add my comments.
    During the estimate, the salesman/manager said that if I was satisfied with the estimate, to seal the deal he’d take off $500 for the dumpster expense. Well, they never even bothered to use a dumpster for my job. OK, I figured my bathroom was a small job anyway, but what really bothered me was the poor communications between their office contact (who was supposed to gude us step by step throughout the process). Over 75% of the time, my wife was the one who DIRECTLY coordinated the tile, plumbing & electricians). The plumber wound up charging us extra for an item which we could have obtained from Home Depot. The electrician felt it necessary to modify slightly the switch wiring because the original wiring path was too much work for him to replicate. The fellow who installed the tiling and drywall was the only friendly/competent one. While I blame myself for not being more on top of things (I was going through a tough time at work and am not that handy), I can say that I would NOT use Total again. I realize that Total are very active on the New Jersey home show scene, and I hope they have cleaned up their act. However, I’m not sure that they have. I’ll be happy to discuss my experience with anyone interested.

  32. Phil @ Kitchen Remodel says:

    I hate to hear of stories like these, it makes it so much harder for small contractors like me to do what we love.

  33. Matt says:

    thanks for this Lee. 2011( 7yrs later) and I am getting calls from Total. Pick up and get a busy signal. As soon as I got a new landline from the big phone co. the calls started coming. Registered and telling telemarketers politely take me off your list.

  34. lee says:

    Matt, if you are having trouble with them still calling after complaining, you might do what I did to some carpet cleaning company who wouldn’t stop calling. Go ahead and invite them to come by the house. When they arrive, explain the situation how you can’t get them to stop calling. I haven’t had trouble with my carpet cleaners since.

  35. rh says:

    I know MANY people whose names are sold by their church, employer, etc., and it is completely legal for companies to call you if they bought your name from one of those organizations. It is different than calling you “blind” from just your phone number. Blame your church, or your company, or the YMCA, or whoever, and blame the marketers, but I don’t automatically blame the company.

    That being said, coincidentally we are getting an estimate from them in a few weeks. We have also dealt with a small builder about 8 years ago, same “bad tactics” as listed above plus whining about “we underbid the job” the whole time (and they messed up by telling a sub the wrong info which had to be aftermarket corrected). And we’ve called Woodbridge Builders and their tactics are pretty bad too, plus their prices are totally outrageous (one dormer plus a room second-floor addition twice as much as a foundation to roof two-level addition).

    My question is, who the heck can we use? I’ve seen trucks from Episcopo and Lima, but have not gotten any info on them. Why is it so hard to find a contractor that’s basically honest, able, and reasonable?

  36. lee says:

    >it is completely legal for companies to call you if they bought your name from one of those organizations

    That is not true. Check the Do Not Call Registry and the FTC page about the Do Not Call Registry.

    >My question is, who the heck can we use?
    Sorry, I don’t know. It is possible you could get an accurate review from Angies List but I haven’t used the service. Good luck.

  37. Chris says:

    I know I’m late to the party here, but I agree with Catia (so far…)

    Total Exteriors is 9/10ths done with a siding job and the work looks great. I’m a little leary of the cleanup – lots of nails, etc., but I’ve been assured that everything will be “spic and span” when they are done. Really nice guys doing the work – hard workers and they seem committed to their craft; good attention to detail.

    Full story – we were initially visited by a terrible, pushy salesman a couple of years ago and got to the breaking point where we kicked him out of our house and I swore that I wouldn’t do business with Total. Frankly, to my surprise, a sales rep that visited us from Sears was just as bad.

    Anyway, when I got a follow-up call from Total, I told the person how disappointed I was in the sales tactics. She respectfully apologized and acknowledged that they had received complaints about the same salesman. Fast forward to a couple of months ago when I gave them another chance. A no BS (non-hard sell) guy showed up, surveyed the job and gave me a quote that was competitive with other quotes that I had received. The difference for me was that – ever since the original idiot showed up at our house – I really liked the Total siding product that they were featuring.

    So – again; job is almost done. Great quality, good workmanship. No problems. I’ll let you know how the clean-up goes!

  38. lee says:

    Here’s a followup email I got from Chris (the previous commenter)

    The job is done and they did a great job cleaning up! The house looks spectacular – I actually wish we took more before/after pictures. I know that there was a “do not call” violation that started this, and I know that some people have had issues (myself included, initially) with the sales tactics, but I would not hesitate to refer Total Exteriors to anyone considering them for a siding project.

    I am extremely pleased with the professionalism, quality and attention to detail with which they completed our job. Anyone in Northern NJ who wishes to discuss can feel free to contact me. It is with much trepidation that we choose a contractor for such a big/important job – and I am very happy to have chosen Total.

    (Feel free to post the above, if you wish…)

    Chris

  39. Thackeray#1 says:

    They knocked on my front door today! Said my neighbor sent them over to my house thinking we might be interested in a quote.(my neighbors would never assume such a thing) I wish I had seen this info first because I gave her my phone number and contact info. Ugh!

  40. lee says:

    Thackeray#1,

    Ouch, the “your neighbor said you might be interested” gag is a classic underhanded door-to-door tactic.

  41. rh says:

    It is classic, and is still heavily used. At least half the time that my neighbors are having work done, the contractors knock on the door and ask if I want work done. These are contractors with names on the trucks and business cards. You can’t blame them if you give out info you didn’t want to. It is the same thing as having a politician knock on your door, or someone raising money. Put up a “no solicitors” sign if you don’t want to be bothered.

    I am having work done with them, despite reading this blog, but am being very vigilant. I feel that the people I work with are responsive and know what they are doing. Sales tactics are a separate animal from work quality, and I am happy so far with their knowledge and schedule. Maybe because I have been burned by a few other companies, I think that the amount of detail and responsiveness is better than average. The cost is lower than average.

    I just am not sure that previous bad sales tactics are that important. It is like blaming the whole Republican party for the errors of a few Republicans.

    But again, I’ll keep a close eye on them thanks to info here.

  42. WeJustWantedAFormalQuote says:

    Again, like many others who posted on this blog both my wife and I are very thankful to have found this site’s posting and the associated comments, which re-iterates and further solidifies the doubt we had with this company, Total!

    We were actually going to use Total to replace our siding simply based on the sales pitch. It was great — though I did not appreciate the salesman down playing our neighbors siding. The sales pitch was strong! It really built our confidence in the company. However, the ‘Jerk’, messed everything up so badly towards the end that I do not even want to be bothered by Total anymore for any type of project!

    What we initially asked for was for someone to visit our home and to provide us a free in home estimate of the cost of having new siding installed. And, this is what Total advertises — that they will provide a free in home estimate! Is that too much to ask as a f*ckin home owner who wants new siding!?

    Well, the simply fact that we even asked the salesman for a quote that my wife and I could later review as we were OK with the price, but just wanted time to sit on it, triggered an attitude change so fierce that I almost put my hands on this salesman!

    To TOTAL Remodeling!! Don’t you ever again try to pressure my wife and I to SIGN-NOW without giving us the decency to at least read the fine print! We were not even allowed to look at the contract! What did you think we would just sign that sh!t!? You could have at least left us with some paper work to review! He literally spent two (2) hours talking over us! Your product is not made of gold! Anyway, that did it for us. I told him to GET-OUT!

    I am sure this company has done great work for other people and they may have done great work for us, but just write down what was discussed and the price and we will get back to you. What is so difficult about that? I am not trying to chase anyone down in order to meet the three (3) cancellation period! Hell, I am sure it would have been difficult to find someone should we have changed our minds later. I am just clad and relieved we did not choose Total Remodeling!! Thank God!

  43. rh says:

    I was told by both the office and the salesman that they insist on all of the homeowners to be present at certain key meetings, the initial estimate and acceptance of the bid, and the first two downpayment meetings.

    It seems that they do know some of their salesmen were playing bait and switch and don’t want to be on the hook.

    I still am not sure if they are so different from any other siding company, and if so, which companies are better?

  44. Mike says:

    Just got a call on my cell phone from “TOTAL Home Improvement” from 908-686-5788 saying I qualified for a free estimate for windows and siding. I hung up on them since I’m at work. My cell phone is on the Do Not Call list so I reported them.

    Apparently they simply changed their name to get around the stigma associated with their old company name. They also now appear to have an A+ BBB rating now. http://www.bbb.org/new-jersey/business-reviews/home-improvements/total-home-improvement-in-union-nj-15000481

  45. rh says:

    My almost 90 year old aunt complains of the same thing. My advice to you is the same as my advice to her – don’t answer the phone unless you know who it is. If it is an emergency, they’ll leave a message.

    They didn’t change their name, like many companies they operate different arms of their business under different names.

    The interesting thing is that the same number comes up as “Matrix Marketing”. They have an ad looking for employees:
    http://newark.daype.com/jobs/marketing-and-pr/CALLERS-NEEDED-UNION-NJ-Ad-453138.html

    local archive:

    To me, it’s a circular argument, where the telemarketers themselves purposefully call numbers on the dnc list, but the employer takes the blame. Just like DYFS workers getting off scotfree for contributing to the deaths of children, yet the agency is blamed.

  46. lee says:

    Mike, that totally sucks. I’d strongly suggest that you write a complaint to the BBB. Though I’m concerned that the BBB may have become unreputable. I came across this 20/20 article describing a pay-for-play scheme by the BBB.

    I’m glad you found this site and I hope that Total Remodeling / Total Home Improvement has actually turned over a new leaf and their call to you was a mistake.

    ————————————————–

    RH, Seriously? SERIOUSLY? They are still hiring telemarketers even though they testified in court (see the end of my original post) that Matrix Marketing didn’t make calls on their behalf? A phone call to the BBB and the Attorney General might help. I don’t live in New Jersey any more and I haven’t been directly impacted by them in a while so I’m not going to follow up on this. But you might want to.

  47. Kelly Ghajalig says:

    I’ve had work done by them and was super satisfied. They are friendly,courteous,and the work is impeccable. I did find however when having other estimates with other companies that it is them that tried to tell me bad stuff and that was a turnofff realizing that Total is the best for a reason. Competitors are jealous because they are legit and been around the longest. I also learned that do not listen to people bad mouthing because most likely its just jealousy. Total is A++ in my book

  48. Nancy says:

    Lee,

    Thanks for posting this. I’ve been getting calls from Total Remodeling for almost a year now. Appreciate you taking the time out to post this. Some people find it more time efficient to sit there and bash on you for posting this, but I’m thankful! Good to know that the State was already onto these guys!

    -Nancy

  49. Frank says:

    Just had Total come give me a quote and did not want the process to exceed 1 hour. It lasted 2+ hours, and after assuring the salesman that no deal would be completed that day, he pulled the old game, “I have to call my manager”
    While he attempted to get a deal done I finally insisted he hang up the phone and leave.

    I was hopeful to get a transparent quote and it was a sham. He miscalculated the bid by 7,000.

    I will continue to look for a reputable contractor.

  50. rh says:

    Just had a lot of work finished by them. Mostly very good, happy with the result.

    I don’t think the calling issue is related to their quality of work. There are a lot of bad contractors in the NYC area because there is so much work, so I’m happy they did a decent job.

    I’ll recommend them to my friends.

    Now if I can get the place I bought my car from to stop calling me even though I moved 100 miles away.

  51. Frank says:

    I received a call from them ust now, and have been getting calls on and off for almost 4 years. I’m on the do not call list as well. I just don’t answer my phone now, and they never leave a message. Between them, and this other on saying I won a cruise, I must get a handful of calls per week.

  52. lee says:

    Another reader suggested a $100 device called a TeleBouncer. If vigilantism isn’t doing it for you, this might be a good solution. Google for it.

  53. L. Reeves says:

    One of the reasons the NJ State AG went after these guys is me. You see, they solicited for a “Consult” to replace our roof in 2004. We had used them previously to cover our sofits and thought they would be fine to do the roofing job. The salesman was hard core, to say the least. He quoted a price of over $11,000 but because we were repeat customers, he’d knock it down to “only” $8500. He talked about his marriage woes, his stomach troubles and stayed for three hours. We were pressured into signing off on the job (“I can’t guarantee the price after tonight”) and with the other forms was a “right to cancel”. He did not want to hear that I was seeking other contractors, insisting their price can’t be beat. He was wrong and I called them telling them so and that the form would be sent back to cancel the work. That is when the proverbial shit hit the fan.
    Their “manager” called me back, berating me and telling me I could not cancel, I signed a contract. I informed him I also signed a right to cancel and he would have that. He insisted on knowing who we had hired (Brown and Glynn and half their estimate-very impressive work too). He claimed they were no good and that their product had been in a lawsuit. I said I would check into that allegation then informed him to contact my lawyer for any other concerns. My lawyer told me to be sure to send the cancellation “return receipt requested” and keep any messages they leave us. Good thing I talked to him. They called us to tell us someone would be by for final measurements. I replied that if anyone sets foot on my property, they would be arrested for trespassing. They again insisted I signed a contract and I again insisted they have my cancellation (I had the signature of it being received). We got a statement from the credit company they were using that showed an original balance due of over $11,000 when I had put $2600 down on a quote of $8500 for a deposit. So they were defrauding their creditor as well and I informed that company as to what they had done. I then called NJ Consumer Affairs and they forwarded it to the AG. I was told they had not yet crossed any lines of legalities, but if I could send them all messages, conversations and forms, they would investigate. It was fabulous to see in the papers that the state fined them for several violations, including calling registered numbers.
    We put our number on the do not call registry soon after this and sure enough, they called us to solicit another job. When I told the girl that it was me who got the AG on their butts AND they were calling a registered phone number, she went “oops” and hung up.
    Oh, and the so-called lawsuit about materials their manager thought he could get me with? It was in 1991, and the company involved ceased making it in 1992, a full 12 years before.
    It is mind boggling that these jerks are still in business. They keep paying fines and screwing customers with their outrageous prices.

  54. lee says:

    L. Reeves, thank you very much for your comment!

  55. Jake Labanda says:

    I had the worse experience with the estimator name Mike (908-868-8595) from totalremodeling company. My house was damaged due to sandy, i called the company and they sent Mike to give me an estimate. He is the biggest scammer ever, he tried to make me do my full roof rebuild even though only the part of the roof was damaged. When i had the guy from insurance company come down he told me you will only get paid for the repair not to redo the whole roof and i completely understand that, i didn’t need whole new roof but the guy from Totalremodeling MIKE didn’t want to do repairs he wanted more money so he insisted that i should get the whole roof done because you don’t know if down the road you will have leaks and stuff. I would never recommend this company to anyone.

  56. rah way Guy says:

    Total is not even a real company. it’s a front for the British mob. I worked in their sales department for a number of years and found out that they hired smaller contractors to do their jobs. they handled “other business” from warehouses in Elizabeth and Mountainside. never do business with them.They are fakes pretending to be contractors.

  57. MomWithACause says:

    My husband and I just had a terrible experience with ToTal.We had seen them at one home show and were impressed with their work. When we needed windows redone we thought of them and booked an appointment with them.After the sales rep came out we felt tremendously pressured into signing the sales contract.My husband and I did, with the guarantee that we could cancel within three days. Later that day I was chatting with our neighbor.Upon hearing that we chose Total Renovations she shook her head and said they weren’t any good.Her sister and brother in law used them a few years ago and had so much trouble,I didn’t believe her so she called her sister to confirm.My husband And I both heard what had happened we called Total the next day to cancel. bad mistake.We were treated badly and yelled at by both their office staff and our sales rep. The rep,Mike, even came back to try to sway us .We refused.He left in a huff , but not before insulting our mentally challenged daughter.Infuriated we called the owner of the company, Chris Edwards(who’s either an Australian or English by the accent) just laughed and only said “That’s Mike.E calls them as e sees them!” No apology ,no anything. And we’re still five grand deposit.Never use this company My neighbor’s sister warned us -sadly too late.Be warned about this crew of losers.

  58. Liz W. says:

    My husband and I signed up with Total for solar last year. They came to our house and gave a high-pressure sales pitch. The company was great until they got their first check. After that they were hard to reach or “someone will get back to you soon” and never returned the call. They did our roof because they said we had to do it to get the solar panels. Please don’t trust them. They lie. When we told them we wanted to cancel the contract they said we would have to pay almost $30K to do so. All we got was a roof. The total job for the solar was $40K. They tried to resolve our horrible experience with a very insulting call from the E.V.P., J. Charles Nemes. They blamed everyone else and treated us like idiots. I am in for a long battle, but no worries. I’m a fighter. I’ve been posting my review wherever I can. Please feel free to post it as well! Thanks for this site Lee!

    Energy Solutions by Total is not telling you all of the facts about their solar panel package. If you are interested in solar panels for your home, please read this review. These are some important points I wish I knew before signing the contract.
    1. No such thing as “at no cost to you”. You will need to take out a $40K – $50K personal loan to pay for the panels. They tell you there will be a tax rebate of 30% you can put against the loan, but their contract states they have 180 days (about 6 months) to finish the job. Therefore, if you sign in July 2013 and the panels are installed in January of 2014, you won’t see the rebate money until you file taxes in 2015. Think about how long will you be paying off your personal loan before your electricity is really free.
    2. Energy Solutions claim they will pay for your loan the first year. Not true. We had our salesman write on the contract that they would pay for our loan the first year (part of the reason why we signed) and was later told this was impossible. What they do is find you an expensive loan with no interest for the first year. No payment to your principle or interest is paid at all. At the end of the interest-free year, it is up to you to become approved for a personal loan to pay off their high-interest one. If not, you will be stuck with a crazy interest rate like a credit card you signed up for in college to get the funny t-shirt and ended up maxing out.
    3. If you think you will be able to get electricity when your town has a blackout, think again. The solar panel system Energy Solutions uses does not have a storage unit. It is directly linked to the power company. If the power goes out, your connection will need to be shut off as well so workers don’t get shocked when repairing down lines. If you want a generator hooked up to your natural gas line, Total Remodeling will certainly sell you one for an additional $10K – $15K.
    4. Energy Solutions will tell you the solar panels will increase the value of your house. When I asked my realtor, she said it will make your house more attractive to some people. Others will not like the look and/or maintenance. If you want guaranteed increased value on your home, upgrade your kitchen and bathrooms. If you plan on living in your house for 20+ years and aren’t worried about selling your home, personalize it however you like.
    5. If your roof isn’t new you will be advised to get a new one before any solar work can be done. And guess what? Energy Solutions by Total Remodeling can do that for you. They will also try and upsell you on any other additional work you need done on your house. It is hard to resist when they are playing on your compassion to save the planet. If you are making this part of your house green, you should really consider putting in new energy efficient windows and doors too – we can do that for you…and we can insulate your attic and garage and blah blah blah.
    6. Lastly, if you are looking for reviews about Energy Solutions by Total because you have a salesperson standing in your house right now wanting you to sign a contract….wait. This is a huge investment. $40K – $50K is nothing to decide on a whim. Sleep on it and make sure you are financially ready. Credits and rebates from the government and the power company may not cover your monthly loan bills.
    I am not a solar panel expert by any means. This is just to inform people that they really need to do their homework before jumping into things. Hope it helped!

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