In the end, Kevin Pampuch’s complaint might all come down to a difference of opinion about the meaning of the word “repair.”
The good news is that with a little prompting from SOS, the literal meaning of “the customer is always right” appears to have prevailed.
Pampuch, 46, had a home built in the Veridian Homes Juniper Ridge development in McFarland last year. Included in the price was a lawn seeded by Middleton-based landscaping firm The Bruce Co., as well as the promise of one “washout repair” should the nascent lawn be damaged by rain or drainage problems.
The lawn was installed in May 2018 but never looked very lawn-like, Pampuch said: “I had quite a few areas of washout resulting in multiple spots where grass will not grow” because of exposed sand, rocks, tree roots and clay.
So he said that in September of last year, he submitted a request for his repair to Veridian, but got no response from Bruce. In April, he asked again, he said, and got the same thing — that is, nothing.
The response from Veridian to his third request, in July, was that “they understand my situation and have contacted the Bruce Company,” Pampuch wrote in a Sept. 17 email, but “’please note, the Bruce Company is about five weeks out on service at the moment, so I let them know to complete by 8/23.’”
Aug. 23 came and went. Still nothing.
“It has been over a year from the original lawn seeding,” Pampuch wrote. “My backyard looks like the moon surface with a lot of craters and exposed clay. … When I contact the Bruce Company, I am told to contact Veridian. When I contact Veridian, I am told my request has been submitted. I know it is just dirt, but it’s the principle.”
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SOS contacted Veridian and The Bruce Co. on Sept. 20, and representatives from both companies responded that same day with promises to look into Pampuch’s complaint.
Veridian marketing manager Chelsey Lammers said Pampuch’s initial request in September 2018 was submitted to Bruce, “but that request didn’t go through,” and “unfortunately, by the time that was figured out, it was too late in the season to complete.”
Lammers said the washout repair was completed in May, although that’s not how Pampuch would characterize it.
He said that after a year in his new house, his contractor did a walk-through and took photos of a few areas of damaged or nonexistent lawn around the driveway and near a downspout, and Bruce Co. fixed those.
“And that’s all they said they were here to fix,” he said.
Lammers said that in response to Pampuch’s July inquiry, Bruce had intended to get to his property by Aug. 23, but “due to heavy rains and lack of labor force,” the company fell behind schedule.
On Sept. 24, Lammers said that “out of goodwill, Veridian will work with the Bruce Company to have his lawn repaired a second time.” On Sept. 30, she said that work would be done by Tuesday.