5 On Your Side

Customers say Graham company's work, communication stopped

Posted January 20, 2010 5:20 p.m. EST
Updated January 20, 2010 6:55 p.m. EST

— Last September after Graham-based Kitchen Carolina blitzed the area with flyers, Patricia Nolte, of Apex, signed a contract with them.

“They had a designer come out. They send you an e-mail with the full design. They had project managers calling me on a daily basis prior to starting the job,” Nolte said.

The company offered a no interest loan through GE Financing.

Nolte signed up for $10,000 which soon went directly to Kitchen Carolina.

At the end of November the old cabinets came out and days later news ones went in. But then the work and communication stopped.

“All of a sudden I couldn't get my phone calls returned. The granite guy didn't show up to take the template. Didn't show up again and I thought, whoa, this is not good,” Nolte said.

Nolte said the granite rep told her that Kitchen Carolina had not paid him. So to get her granite, she had to pay another $1,700. She also had to buy tile and paint.

“I can't blame the contractors. Nobody wants to work for free,” she said.

The cabinets that were installed have problems. There are gaps. One doesn't close right and another is the wrong size. Some of the trim also won’t stay in place.

Nolte is one of more than a dozen customers who have complained to 5 on Your Side about Kitchen Carolina. The North Carolina Attorney General's office has about 40 complaints, and last December, asked the company to stop taking new orders.

The Better Business Bureau has dropped Kitchen Carolina's accreditation.

Kitchen Carolina owner Rob Selfors said that in December the company had a backlog of 425 incomplete kitchens so it stopped taking new jobs. He said that decision "created a fire storm online" of rumors.

Selfors told WRAL there is "nothing to panic about" and promised to complete the projects. He said he even created a "Rumors and Myths" section on the company’s Web site to explain what has happened.

Kitchen Carolina is now back on the job at Nolte's home and at the homes of some of the other people who complained to WRAL. Many people said if the company just kept communicating, it would have made all the difference.

“The economy's not that great. We all get that. We understand that. Let us know what's going on and what the problem is and I'll work with you. If you work with me, I'll work with you,” Nolte said.

Selfors took a list of the complainants who contacted 5 on Your Side. A manger immediately contacted Nolte and agreed to refund the approximately $2,500 extra she had to spend to get things done. Nolte said her kitchen is almost done.