5 On Your Side

5 On Your Side gets refund for couple after fireplace repairs fail

Posted August 7
Updated August 8

— A Durham couple was left with a mess that cost them thousands of dollars to repair after hiring a company to install new glass doors for their fireplace and a new chimney cap.

When they didn't get their promised refund, they reached out to 5 On Your Side for help.

After hiring Triangle Chimney Pros, homeowner Julie Gibson noticed multiple issues. The crumbling bricks were repaired with silicone, and the chimney cover was leaking.

"When we went to touch these bricks, they were all crumbling," said Gibson. When David Hawthorne, the owner of Triangle Chimney Pros, came out, she says he suggested a wooden stove insert to fix the problem. As it turned out, the insert was too big.

"He was actually trying to shave off part of the depth of these bricks to try and force the unit to fit with a jackhammer," said Gibson. "That was really too big to be installed in our home."

Even more concern arose when the fireplace manufacturer told Gibson that using a jackhammer on a chimney is a safety hazard. "It should never be done," officials with Regency Fireplace Products stated. "It's an unsafe practice that he's done."

According to Gibson, the whole project has already cost $3,450. "That's just to get us back where we were -- and slightly worse," said Gibson. According to Gibson, the existing fireplace and chimney couldn't be used as a regular fireplace.

In early May, Hawthorne's wife, Heather, sent the Gibson's this email:

"I sincerely apologize that we failed you, and I will provide a refund for the deposit on this stove."

Despite a promise the check was "mailed out," and another that it was over-nighted, six weeks passed with no refund. That's when Gibson gave up and called 5 On Your Side.

When asked, Hawthorne said he took the check out of the mailbox once he saw that Gibson had posted negative reviews about Triangle Chimney Pros online.

As for the work, Hawthorne said the insert "was never going to sit right or look pretty to begin with," adding that he discussed that with the homeowners before taking the job.

Just hours after that conversation, Gibson got an email from Heather Hawthorne saying she "put her foot down." Hawthorne then paid Gibson a total of nearly $3,500 to cover the deposit and almost $2,000 in needed repairs.

"Considering this ordeal started mid-March, it is terrific to have closure," said Gibson.

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