Mending a Fence for San Carlos Neighbors - NBC 7 San Diego

Mending a Fence for San Carlos Neighbors

Three neighbors contact NBC 7 Responds after having problems with a new vinyl fence.

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    NBC 7 Responds: Mending Fences

    A San Carlos homeowner shared the cost of a fence with a neighbor and noticed almost immediately a problem with the fence. NBC 7's Consumer Bob has the story. (Published Thursday, July 19, 2018)

    Three San Carlos neighbors said the old wooden fence that their properties shared was on it’s last leg, rather fence post. They agreed that the time had come for a new fence.

    “We had a wood fence here and the neighbors next door decided they wanted to do vinyl, we were going to do our bathrooms first but then said, well, let’s just share the cost,” said one of the neighbors, Howard Bregstein.

    The neighbors said after some debate they decided to go with a vinyl fence. And, after some additional debate, opted to purchase the fence from Missouri-based Ply Gem Fencing.

    Including installation, the fence cost the neighbors more than $21,000 and the job was completed in October 2016.

    But, by June of the following year, Howard says he and his neighbors noticed something strange about the fence.

    “We started to see streaks in the fence,” Howard said. “We inspected all of the fence and it was funny because only in the direct sunlight was the streaking, and anything in the shade was perfect.”

    Howard wasted no time.

    He called the building supply company where he bought the fencing from. He brought in samples of the damaged fence. The supplier then contacted Ply Gem Fencing on Howard’s behalf. The response wasn’t what Howard and his neighbors wanted to hear.

    “[The supplier] got a letter which they emailed to me saying [Ply Gem] is denying the claims, saying it’s environmental,” said Howard.

    Howard said there are no environmental issues in his neighborhood that would cause streaking on his fence. He suspected it was a manufacturing glitch.

    “I said, ‘look, we are not by the water, we are not getting any salt air, we aren’t in any fire zone. Nothing I see other than direct sunlight that was causing the issue,” Howard told NBC 7 Responds during an interview.

    “I read her the riot act. I said this is not the end but is just the beginning,” he said.

    Howard ended up calling NBC 7 Responds for help. A week or so later, Howard got a phone call.

    “They [said] they are going to replace the fence at no charge and they are going to do the labor at no charge,” said Howard.

    In a statement, Ply Gem, however, said the decision to replace the fence was from a customer satisfaction standpoint rather than replacing a bad product.

    “Ply Gem Fence and Railing representatives visited the home[s] to examine the fence that was listed in their claim. After a thorough inspection and review, including lab tests, it was determined that the claimed streaking was caused by foreign matter in the air in that location. The streaking is not permanent and can be removed by cleaning with an everyday household product. For this reason, the streaking is not a product issue and is not covered under warranty,” a spokesperson wrote.

    “However, Ply Gem values our customers and as a one-time customer accommodation is willing to provide replacement fence pickets in an alternative color that may not show the visual effects of the airborne foreign matter in that neighborhood,” wrote a spokesperson from Ply Gem in an email to NBC 7 Responds.