30 May 2010

The Devil is in the Details

Last May 18, we received a bunch of documents from Avida requiring our signature. I assumed this was part of the turnover process since they sent photocopies of the Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) and asked us to sign each copy.

I checked the lot plan versus the technical description stated on the TCT and found an error. Since the documents came with a letter that stated a number to call and an email address in case we had questions, I decided to contact them.

To cut things short, after numerous phone calls and emails, Avida has yet to give us an answer more than a week later.

At the same time, I was also communicating with the bank. They told me that typographical errors are common in TCTs but they will try to get some form of guarantee from Avida that they will fix the problem.

I told both the bank and Avida that we will not sign anything until this issue is resolved. And while I know this is a minor detail, we just don't want to be stuck holding the bag (so to speak) if this was overlooked. Apparently, if the actual title has a problem, it could take up to six months and a court hearing - not to mention dealing with different government agencies. Life is difficult enough as it is.

24 May 2010

The Avida Website Revisted

Brand Promise

Quality Assurance

To ensure the long-term value of your investment, all aspects of our technical planning and construction undergo stringent quality controls. Structural designs are accomplished by highly experienced engineers, while our construction management processes employ an ISO-certified management system.

ISO-certified? With doors that don't open properly? It should be revoked! Hey, there's an idea...

Of course, apart from topnotch quality, Avida is highly committed to the prompt delivery of all projects according to specifications.

Prompt delivery? The number of disgruntled customers that I know of, whose houses were late by at least six months, is growing. And don't get me started on the "according to specifications."

Stress-free Buying Experience

We believe that our customers' buying experience is an integral part of our value proposition. We make sure that site visits are as informative and as relaxing as possible. Our brokers and employees adhere to strict ethical standards, while our dedicated customer hot line is readily available to address all your concerns.

Is it ethical to repeatedly not tell the truth? The head office and the sales agents have yet to learn honesty.

During one site visit, we asked about the bathroom window on the ground floor. Based on the model unit, anyone passing by outside will be able to see the person inside. Our agent assured us that the model unit was done incorrectly and the actual house will not have that problem. Our house now has a problem.

Mission Vision


To our Customers, we commit to provide the highest value for your investment by delivering quality and innovative homes and communities that continue to appreciate over time. We will endeavor to build customers for life by providing the highest standards of service and constantly improving quality.

None of the above is happening.

Filinvest, Vista Land and other developers do not make the same detailed claims. At least not on their websites.

23 May 2010

Quality Control Has Left the Building

Either that or it never arrived.

Let's recap. In Ellen's email last March 23 (you can read it here), she advised that, "After the unit has been completed, we will endorse it right away to the Quality team of Avida for quality inspection." She also insisted (while we were arguing on the phone last January) that it will be a quality checked house.

And when I talked to the contractor last month, he confirmed that the Quality team did arrive and inspected the unit. I assumed that what they meant by "quality" was that the house would be conforming to high standards. Apparently, I assumed too much.

We visited the house yesterday and here's what greeted us:

- Doors that won't and can't open fully - take note of the plural form "doors".

- Bathroom walls that have not been paved or painted - the agreement was that they would not install the tiles but the walls would be smooth and painted white.

- Holes due to the doors hitting the walls.

- Toilet bowls, sinks, toilet paper holders, etc that have not been installed - during our meeting with Avida, we agreed that only the tiles would not be installed but everything else stays as is. We also have this in writing.

We would have probably found more defects if we had more time, but I had an event to attend in Makati so we left early.

This now begs the question, WHAT ON EARTH DID THEY CHECK?!?!? And if there are numerous problems for the items that we can immediately see, what more for the things that are out of sight? Like the plumbing and electrical wires?

Avida, we already saved you a lot of money on material and labor costs because of the items we requested not to be installed. But it seems you wanted to save even more money (at our expense) because you have not installed more items than we asked for.

I can now, without a doubt, say we were right in questioning how well this house was built. Quality, huh? Now we know what Avida means by "quality" - it's poor quality. Very poor quality.

This house is SO NOT READY for turnover.

20 May 2010

Something is Brewing

Avida sent a letter recently and it made me want to hit someone.

I was so mad that I called Noel three times only to be stopped by Earl. He wants our lawyer to handle this and as much as I really want to start screaming at someone from Avida, I agreed.

The gist is that they have a lot nerve sending that letter. The gall!!!

I will post all the details once I get the go signal.

It may now be time to escalate this situation to someone else.

07 May 2010

One Final Look Back

When I talked to the contractor last Friday, April 30, he mentioned that the quality control people were at the house Thursday and they gave him some punch list items (still undone). He said he finished them that Friday morning. Basically, this means that the house could not have been turned over that day as per Avida's email (again) since the contractor was still fixing things.

He also mentioned that the house has now been painted blue and that it was finished in half the time it usually takes to paint the house (including primer). In one of our earlier conversations, he said that it would take four days for four men to paint. But since there were 10 men working on the job, it got fixed in a jiffy.

This just proves that it is possible for things to move quickly, provided that Avida puts their mind to it (or you have your lawyer send them a demand letter...)

I wish that Avida had been honest from the beginning. Instead of their sales agents telling potential buyers that they will get their house in six months, they should give the realistic picture and let the clients decide whether or not they want to wait that long BEFORE they hand over the non refundable reservation fee.

Also, during our meeting with Avida last year, we were told that the sales department has a different take on what's supposed to happen which is contrary to the rules set up by the head office. First of all, the sales department and the head office must be in sync with what they tell the customers. As we mentioned to them, the sales people are the first (and sometimes) the only Avida employees that the buyers see - so they all must be on the same page.

But what really got our goat during this process was the fact the "Customer Service" personnel do not tell the truth. They say many things but none of which are true so they end up looking worse than the sales agents they're blaming.

It is our hope that this will not happen again to some other hapless buyer out there, believing the hype and handing over a lot of cash to Avida only to end up frustrated and disappointed. Avida, the houses you sell are not exactly what you call affordable - because if it were then there wouldn't be a housing backlog in this country.

The house is finished but we are not what you can call totally happy or satisfied. And if Avida thinks one bunch of flowers will make up for all the misery they have caused us, think again.
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