‘Would not have happened without 8 On Your Side’: Sarasota couple spends holidays at home after ‘nightmare’ project

Sarasota County

SARASOTA COUNTY (WFLA) – Being able spend time at home for the holidays is a gift in itself for Tom DeVol and Jeff O’Berry.

The couple spent the last several months dealing with a Home Depot home improvement project gone wrong.

“We are doing much better. We feel normal again,” said O’Berry.

What was supposed to be a simple tile installation turned into a mess. Thick, gritty mortar dust covered virtually every inch of O’Berry and DeVol’s Sarasota home.

The couple spent months living in the dust-filled home while trying to get a resolution from the company and its subcontractors. O’Berry said his nose was constantly running and DeVol’s eyes watered non-stop. Even one of their two dogs has been impacted by the dust and was taken to the vet with irritation.

After getting the runaround from the company and its subcontractors, the couple turned to 8 On Your Side for help in late October.

After we reached out to Home Depot’s corporate office, the couple started to see movement in their efforts to get their home cleaned and their lives back to normal.

“Very shortly after you were here, we were contacted by a woman representing corporate Home Depot telling us they were going to do everything we wanted, everything it would take to put us back to normal again,” said DeVol.

The couple and their two dogs spent over a month in a hotel as professional cleaning crews went room by room ridding their home of dust and debris.

It was a costly process covered by Home Depot.

“The original estimate for just cleaning the house that didn’t include the electronics was $50,000 alone and then we were put up in a hotel for over one month which was quite costly. The electronic services, I don’t know how much that could have been, but it must’ve been quite expensive because they removed everything from textiles and electronics from our home, inventoried it, packaged it, cleaned it, tested it, then re-packaged it and brought it all back,” said DeVol.

The couple’s home is now spick and span, covered in vintage Christmas decor, and looking back to normal.

“It’s comforting. That is a strange word, perhaps, but it feels like home and they say there’s no place like home,” said O’Berry. “It was in such a poor state before this and it was affecting our emotional health and our mental health because it was so stressful. We are looking forward to 2021. We feel like maybe like everybody else, we can hopefully kind of get back to real normal.”

The couple is excited to close this chapter before the new year.

“This was a good Christmas present for us to be able to return to our home. It is not only your home, but it’s your life and your lifestyle because it affected us deeply going through all of this, plus trying to amend everything through all these different parties that weren’t responding, that finally did once you contacted them,” said DeVol.

O’Berry says since 8 On Your Side got involved, the communication with corporate has been constant.

“This would not have happened without 8 On Your Side,” said O’Berry. “You kind of making that contact and getting across to them what we had been trying to get across as members of the public that this was a serious situation that needed to be rectified.”

Back in October, Home Depot corporate officials told 8 On Your Side, “this work doesn’t meet our quality standards and expectations. We’re terribly sorry that Mr. O’Berry and Mr. DeVol had this experience and we’re working to make this right as quickly as possible”.

“What the parties involved early on don’t realize is we have spent thousands and thousands of dollars with Home Depot in the past and interestingly, we have been to Home Depot easily a dozen times since we have been home. Coming through for us has probably maintained the customer,” said O’Berry.

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