California  |  Entertainment Law

Legal Question

Asked on: 5/23/13, 2:00 pm

My fiancÚ and I were contacted by a production company for a major cable network regarding doing a pilot about bad contractors. The agreement was that we would have our story told on film and they would finish the project that the original contractor started. They selected us because of our documented proof of a shady contractor, and the job could be completed in their time frame. We agreed and the show started shooting quickly. We were told to leave our house on a Saturday and not to come back till the reveal on Wednesday. During this time period, we were called daily, numerous calls daily, in regards to money. Everyone from the contractor that the production company hired to the production assistants called us asking for money and/or to meet them at various hardware stores to pay for building materials. We were never told that we had to buy ALL materials, or any for that matter. The first time we met the contractor at the hardware store we thought they just wanted our opinion on what we wanted as far as stone, fixtures, etc, but what ended up happening was that the contractor said he had to go and for us to pay for everything and leave it on will call so he could pick it up the next morning with his trailer. This first purchase included everything from stone and drywall, down to nails. Not giving much thought to it, we both agreed that we would just submit the receipt to the production company after the reveal for reimbursement (around $1200.00). After wenwerentold to leave our home while they worked, we were called on our cells numerous times a day from various people needing more money. We felt manipulated into doing so being that we were out of our home and we were given the impression that whatever we didn't provide, would not be done. When day three of filming came around, we were contacted by the designer they hired in regards to more money for staging equipment for the reveal. We really started worrying about our financials at this time, cause in the past three days we had disbursed right around $10,000. We were never able to get a hold of Kevin or tony from the production team, so we called the production manager who just avoided the question altogether. After hours of multiple calls we were finally made to give another $1500 to the designer so he could get the room "camera ready". At this point we still had hope of getting reimbursed from the production company. The demands for money continued till literally one hour till the reveal when we were asked for another $1000, and also after the reveal when the contractor came to our house asking for another $940 to reimburse some of his men who paid for building materials out of their pocket. We finally asked the contractor why he decided to keep asking us and having everyone ask us for ,only and he told us because he was told that homeowners are to supply all materials and they were supplying labor only. THIS was never the agreement. They were suppose to finish our front yard/bathroom in exchange for us telling our story and confronting the bad contractor on national television. Our total cost that we paid out and have receipts for is just over $15,000. They are refusing to reimburse us for anything, and the response is "what's the problem, you got your bathroom done didn't you?" Which brings me to our next complaint. Nothing they did was completed. They got everything "camera ready" as they put it. Anything they requested last minute that we couldn't get to them on time was left alone completely. This included the new sod they wanted installed and a custom closet design. Those two alone would have been additional $7000.00 alone for what they wanted to do. Here we are with holes in our walls, unfinished floors, halfway completed paint jobs, ceiling on shower not done, and that's just the start. They left all of the construction debris piled up on my side yard, and the production company trashed my office, broke a window, my monitors, left broken beer bottles throughout our back and side yards, and all the items missing from our home. When asked about the missing items and unfinished work, which we were told would be completed, we received ridicule from all involved. They are not reimbursing us for anything and it appears the work won't be completed either. We literally emptied our bank accounts to pay for what we were originally suppose to be part of our compensation for putting our story on national television. Not only my fiancÚ and I, but our two children as well. This isn't full details, but a good rundown. I just want to know if there is anything I can do to get my money back, the house finished, and everything we were told we would be compensated for. We have to shut the doors of our business because the $15,000 we put out was for our relocation because we closed our prior location down days before this started. Any help would be appreciated.

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