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Unlike shower, rift can't be repaired

I accepted an estimate from Matt Sudwischer for a shower replacement and related work. At his suggestion we purchased the tile and shower door from a local home improvement warehouse.

His work schedule was erratic. On occasion he left the job to pick his son up from school. He told us his father was ill. Under the circumstances, we thought he was making an honest effort.

He finished everything but installation of the shower door, as it had not arrived, and asked to be paid in full. To help him out, we agreed. Obviously, this was a mistake.

I received a call that the door had come in and was ready to be picked up. I left several messages for Matt but never spoke to him personally or received a return call. After three followup calls from the home improvement store, I was told it would charge me storage if the door wasn't picked up by the end of the week. I called Matt again.

He returned that call the next day, saying his dad had died and he'd just returned from Atlanta. He did pick up the door, almost seven weeks after it arrived, but felt it was too difficult for him to hang. He suggested I find someone through the home improvement store and he would pay for it.

I did, but he hasn't.

After several unanswered messages, I looked up Matt's home phone number, but the only Sudwischer in the book turned out to be his brother. He informed me their father had not died.

I truly believe Matt should be reprimanded for his unprofessional behavior and made to pay this debt.

Thomas McAvoy

As is the case for all construction-related complaints, the first thing we did was check with the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board. Matt Sudwischer's listed license is active for tile and marble work and there have been no complaints against it.

Sudwischer's account differs considerably from your complaint. From his "erratic" work schedule, to his father's illness and death, to offering to pay to have someone else install your shower doors, Sudwischer disputes each point.

He said his son was ill when he left to pick him up and required a doctor's visit.

"Mr. McAvoy said I told him that my father died and I was in Atlanta. I do not know where he got this from but I have no family in Atlanta, I've never been to Atlanta and my father lives in New York," Sudwischer said.

He explained that the shower doors that he picked up were not the doors he agreed to install when providing you an estimate. Sudwischer said your wife told him you had changed your mind. Since he was not qualified to install these doors, he offered to help you find someone who could. Sudwischer said he made several calls until he located a company that did the work. While he did offer to return the $125 installation charge you paid him, at no time did he offer to pay for someone else to do it.

"He got angry," Sudwischer said. "He said he would not accept $125 and he was going to cause me a lot of trouble."

You never mentioned a problem with Sudwischer's tile work, so we assume you are satisfied with the rest of your new bathroom. Based on the diversity of yours and Sudwischer's versions of events, we don't believe a resolution is possible. We hope you will accept his offer of the $125 refund.

Action solves problems and gets answers. If you have a question, or your attempts to resolve a consumer complaint have failed, write Times Action, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731, or call your Action number, (727) 893-8171, or, outside of Pinellas, toll-free 1-800-333-7505, ext. 8171, to leave a recorded request. Requests will be accepted only by mail or voice mail; calls cannot be returned. We will not be responsible for personal documents, so please send only photocopies. If your complaint concerns merchandise ordered by mail, we need copies of both sides of your canceled check. We may require additional information or prefer to reply by mail; therefore, readers must provide a full mailing address, including ZIP code. Names of letter writers will not be omitted except in unusual circumstances. Letters may be edited for length and clarity.