Los Angeles

After House Fire, Man Waits 14 Months for New IKEA Kitchen

Seeing the charred remains of his Pasadena home is still enough to make owner Eric Lloyd emotional.

"Up in blazes, and it was -- it was a lot of damage," Lloyd said, recalling the October 2014 night he watched his house burn.

The fire ripped through his bedroom, living room and kitchen -- all caused by bad wiring in a light fixture, he said.

"I was numb at first, you know," he said.

The silver lining from the destruction was supposed to be a remodel several months later. And for his kitchen, Lloyd spent more than $10,000 at IKEA for new cabinets and drawers.

But Lloyd said Traemand, the contractor that worked with IKEA, isn't finishing the job. Lloyd wants IKEA's help to get his home back more than a year after the kitchen installation began.

"It's a big company," he said. "I felt like I would have less headaches."

So if you are stuck between an independent contractor and a store, how do you fix it?

The Contractors State License Board's Rick Lopes said consumers often trust big companies to pick reputable contractors, but you should always look up a company yourself before agreeing to any installation.

"The worst thing that can happen is that this thing can just go on for weeks, for months, for years even," Lopes said. "You want to be sure that you're signing things that you know of, and you know what protections are in place."

Fourteen months after the installation began, IKEA fixed Lloyd's problem.

"We do take responsibility for not following up with this customer soon enough," a company spokeswoman said.

Ikea sent Lloyd a check for $15,000 -- more than he paid for the kitchen in the first place -- and more than $10,000 in store credit.

All in all, more than $25,000 to make up for his wait.

Lloyd welcomes the change -- ready for a frustrating chapter of his life to finally end.

"I just went through a lot," he said.

Generally you should never pay more than 10 percent or $1,000 to a contractor up front, whichever is less. This can help you avoid problems like the job not being completed.

Traemand is licensed by the state and a spokesperson apologized to Lloyd for the delays, telling the I-Team they're confident everything has been resolved.

You can look up a contractor using the CSLB's contractor search tool.

If you have a problem you can't resolve with a contractor, you can also file a complaint with the CSLB on this website.

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