A company that claims to be the nation's largest manufacturer of portable and modular buildings has some pretty frustrated customers in Louisiana. They say they've paid Morgan Buildings and Spas hundreds of dollars in down payments for products they've waited months for and still don't have.
Martha Wyatt's family wanted extra storage at their Kenner home for swimming pool supplies. She turned to Morgan Buildings and Spas just off I-10 at Clearview in Metairie and found a shed she really liked.
"8 by 10, peak style.. grey and white.. and it was $1,882.46, and I paid down $942, which left a balance of $940.46," explained Wyatt. That was nearly a year ago in May 2012. As of the first week of April, Wyatt said she still has no building.
Stakes in the ground where the shed was supposed to go is all you see in their backyard. Wyatt said Morgan promised a delivery date within four weeks with six weeks being the latest.
"It had been nine weeks from the time we ordered it that they told me they had it," said Wyatt. At that time, Wyatt said she was out of town.
"Of course at this point, I'm out $1,295.50," explained Shelly Semere of Gonzales. Semere said that's the deposit amount she paid the company's Baton Rouge location for a similar shed also, in May 2012. In July, she said the company called to tell her the building materials had arrived. Just before the delivery date she said they agreed on, Semere said the manager at the time told her they didn't have a person to build it.
In August, Semere said she got the same excuse. At the end of the month, after Hurricane Isaac hit the state, Semere said she went to Baton Rouge and saw a relocation sign directing customers to its Metairie location.
Last year, both women filed complaints with the Better Business Bureau, and in both of Morgan's response letters, the company mentions there are situations where "delivery delays are unavoidable".. and requested or quoted delivery dates.. "only approximate" according to the purchase agreement.
Semere's letter says "the product will be delivered.. the week of October 22, 2012." In the response regarding Wyatt it says "Morgan stands ready.. to deliver the product to Ms. Wyatt as soon as she calls in."
Ten months after both women signed a Morgan Buildings contract and paid their deposit for one of their buildings, the company's Metairie location looked like a ghost town. When we tried to reach someone at the office, no one answered the door and the door was locked. A sign posted in the office window reads "temporarily closed" and lists a Dallas phone number for more information.
FOX 8 counted about a dozen portable and modular buildings on the lot. We also found a few spas with stagnant water inside of them, idle equipment, and even old contracts between Morgan Buildings and Spas and its customers all left out in the open for anyone to get their hands on.
A Morgan Buildings and Spas employee in the company's corporate office tells FOX 8 the Metairie location is not closed, but they've had personnel issues. Meantime, they say they are looking into both of the cases we've questioned.
An employee with Morgan Buildings and Spas admits there were delays in its deliveries to both customers; one of them because Morgan lacked adequate staff.
While the company was delayed several months in one of those cases, Morgan Buildings stressed its purchase agreement spells out that delivery dates are "only approximate" and it doesn't do refunds.
Instead, Morgan says both customers have an opportunity to use their deposit as a credit toward another product.