FISHERS, Ind. – A family of six is relieved to be home after living in a hotel for months.
On Feb. 14, 2022, Michael and Alizabeth Van Duyn noticed an upstairs toilet had overflowed. The water was pouring down the hallway, through their ceiling and into their light fixtures.
“It is just pouring,” Michael said.
“Literally, like a hose,” Alizabeth said, as she walked CBS4 through what used to be her kitchen.
The couple had immediately called their insurance company to make a claim. They said the insurance company had recommended a restoration company. That company responded, reportedly turned off the water and set up fans to dry out several rooms. It was also contracted to renovate the home.
The family wanted the work done quickly, so they handed over 100% of their insurance claim, which was more than $16,000.
Because the house didn’t have hot water, the insurance company agreed that the family needed to move out, at least temporarily.
“The insurance company said, ‘Yeah, you need to stay in a hotel. You do not have hot water, you don’t have enough bathrooms,’” Michael recalled.
The family packed up all their belongings, their four kids including a one-month-old newborn and anticipated staying at a nearby hotel for up to two weeks. Unfortunately, they had to leave their dogs behind. They figured they would travel back and forth to let them outside as much as possible.
“I’m going to cry just thinking about it,” Alizabeth said.
After a month, the Van Duyns said they hadn’t heard about any progress. They called the restoration company but felt there was very little communication about when crews would install their new cabinets, carpet and more.
“We have documents showing how many times we texted them, emailed them, called them with no responses,” Michael said.
After more than 100 days in a hotel, the family decided to cut ties with the restoration company. They asked for their money back and for the company to take their names off pending contracts for supplies. Emails show the company’s vice president refused to do until the family removed their negative review on the Better Business Bureau website.
“The owner of (company name) has stated that he will not release this payment until this is agreed upon and the BBB – Better Business Bureau complaint made is withdrawn, as this will conclude our business with your project,” he wrote.
CBS4 forwarded the email to the BBB. A spokesperson responded, saying that kind of a response was not a behavior they condone.
Anchor Angela Brauer also confronted the company. The vice president did not want to speak on camera but agreed to meet privately. Even though CBS4 requested an official statement several times, neither the vice president nor the company’s CEO sent one.
Within hours of the meeting, the Van Duyns confirmed the company had issued them a refund and released each pending invoice so they could move on.
Different contractors finished the work within two weeks.
CBS4 decided not to name the company, since in the end, they made everything right again.