Thursday, December 12, 2019

Complaints Build Against Modular Home Maker Vermod

Tim Fisher purchased a Vermod ultra-energy-efficient modular home in 2017 for his disabled adult son and a live-in caretaker. He wanted an "instant house" that would be affordable, environmentally friendly and better looking than a typical factory-made home.

But the Cornwall artist says the $134,000 shelter underperformed, and so did the Wilder-based company that sold it to him. By Fisher's account, windows cracked and doors were hung incorrectly. The heat pump system could not get his son's bedroom above 50 degrees in the winter. A solar panel nearly fell off the roof. And six months after the house was delivered, Fisher was sitting in the living room visiting with his son when he noticed a potentially bigger problem.

"I looked up and saw that the Sheetrock had cracked, and then I looked down and saw that the floor had sunk," Fisher said.

Vermod executives disagree with Fisher's contention about the quality of the home he bought and defend their company's product and service. "We build a high-performance home. That is the only thing we do here in this company," said Steve Davis, Vermod's founder and owner. He and his team point to the accolades the company has received for its innovative product, which combines affordably priced housing with a minimal carbon footprint. Vermod launched in 2013 with support from Efficiency Vermont, a utility ratepayer-funded nonprofit that has funneled nearly $1 million in subsidies to Vermod buyers.

Modcoach Note: I visited this factory in April of this year. I’ve been a lot of modular factories but this one was unique. Not a real model of efficiency or productivity.

But as the 6-year-old business prepares to finish its 100th home of the future, Fisher isn't the only customer who is griping. Three others have complained to the Vermont Attorney General's Office about the company. And in interviews with a half dozen additional Vermod owners and renters, concerns about sagging floors, cracking drywall and moisture problems cropped up repeatedly.

CLICK HERE to read the entire Seven Days article

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