California Closets - "Built to Spec" Isn't Acceptable

I have had California Closets (CC) in my last three homes and was in love with them. Previously, I had only had them in my master closet, but now with a new home and a couple of bucks in my pocket, my husband and I decided to install CC in all the closets (five in total), plus two identical bathroom vanities and a linen closet. However, with my latest experience with CC, I will never use them again.

Closets: There were two issues with the closets. The first was when I had specified in the design that I had a 12” height requirement from the ceiling to the top shelf to accommodate for specific storage boxes. Two closets had to be re-installed to meet this height requirement and the large lines drawn to determine the closets top shelf height had to be painted over. The installer re-painted it but the line was still obvious and so I had to go back and repaint the walls four times to hide the line. The second issue was with the first installer himself. He had to install twelve drawers in three separate closets and he struggled to straighten and align the drawers. He worked on it for over two hours and just couldn’t get it right which at that point I realized it was a lost cause and had him leave. I asked the second installer who came to install the cabinets to take a look at them and he was able to fix the issues in about three minutes, clearly the first installer requires more training.

Cabinets: There were multiple issues with the cabinets which all stemmed from the design. I was very specific with the sales consultant, that I wanted the new cabinets to be the identical footprint as the prior one, but what I received was a taller shallower cabinet which caused a waterfall of issues. Starting off on the wrong foot, the installer put a hole in my wall without speaking to me even though I was home and when I saw it later, I was told that the wall wasn’t flush. I would have preferred he speak to me first as there are better options to smooth down a wall other than tearing a hole into it. He installed the cabinet first THEN patched the hole which I don’t believe patched the entire hole since I keep finding a lot of bugs in that general area but I can’t see behind the drawer to check.

Since the new cabinet was taller than the original cabinet, the electrical plugs and towel racks had to be moved up and an additional plumbing extension had to be purchased and installed since the sinks were higher than before. Additionally, the decoration rail had to be removed (we decided not to replace it since it was cheaper) as it used to be at the height of the countertop but with it moved, the piece no longer fit correctly and since the rail was from the 70’s, I could no longer find a matching piece to just replace that one section. The new cabinet was also less deep, which left about a ½ gap between the cabinet and the wall. With the holes and patches left from the old electrical outlets and towel racks, along with the ½ gap, I was required to re-texture and re-paint both bathrooms which cost me $1600 that I shouldn’t have had to spend if the sales consultant would have designed the cabinets as she was asked. She stated, that she assumed I wanted a taller “standard height” cabinet since that was the norm, not taking into account that I am short and didn’t want something else that challenged my lack of height, nor did I want to have to fix all these other issues that came with changing the height.

Another issue I came across with the installation was the top. The design I signed off on showed the top part of the cabinet shadowed, I assumed this meant that there was no board there since the sinks and granite would be placed on top (which is typical for a bathroom cabinet). When the cabinet was installed, there was a board there that had to be cut to make room for the sinks. Once cut, the thickness from the sink hole to the end of the cabinet was less that 1” thick which reduced the structural integrity of the cabinets. Once the holes were cut, the cabinets were very weak; the entire top could be moved up and down a few inches with just my hand. I am very concerned that one day the weight of the granite will crush the cabinets. Hopefully no one will be hurt.

For the cabinets to be installed, I required the old granite and plumbing to be removed and re-installed. The sales consultant recommended a contractor to do the work, and raved about the quality of his workers and professionalism. However, I found his team to be a bunch of incompetent brutes. When taking out the granite, they ran into my walls and door frames leaving holes, dings and scuffs, but the contractor kept telling me not to worry as they would fix it. Once the cabinets were installed, it took me two weeks of steady nagging for him to come out and reinstall the granite and plumbing. Once he finally showed up, he gave two incompetent guys instructions and left, I never saw him again. His workers mentioned to me multiple times that they didn’t know much about plumbing. At the end, I was told that they figured it out but I learned after they left that wasn’t the case since I was left with four leaky sinks which cost me another $250 to fix properly. They also never had the tools necessary. They would leave to get the tools but wouldn’t come back for a few days and more nagging. In my desperate attempt to keep them at the house to finish the job, I loaned them my tools, some of which they kept. They moved up the outlet box and plug but instead of putting in sheet rock into the prior cavity the area was just mudded off and the electrical box was installed above it with nothing but mud to hold it in place. When an item was plugged in and later unplugged, the entire electrical box ripped out of the wall upon first usage. This cost me an additional $200 to fix and it’s still not 100% correct. When the granite was installed in the master bedroom, the top part of the cabinet snapped in half and the contractor, instead of telling me, hid it and I didn’t see it until after I paid. I made the mistake of paying them without thoroughly reviewing their work. They left me with four leaky sinks, missing tools, and a mess in the back room where they worked to remove the old glue from the granite, plus the countertop that was snapped and holes, dings and scuffs on my walls/door frames which they never fixed. I contacted them to come and fix this but they ignored my calls. I didn’t pursue them further because frankly they were such a nightmare that I didn’t want them in my house any longer. The sales consultant asked me to pay for the additional work the contractor had to do to put the granite back. (I had agreed to pay $600 to have them uninstall and re-install the granite countertops and plumbing). The work that needed to be done because the cabinets were not as we discussed was: move the electrical up, move the towel racks up, purchase and install longer plumbing pipes and cut a hole in the cabinet’s top. I refused to pay as these changes were not my fault.

Linen Closet: I had the linen closet replaced in the master bathroom. As with the cabinets, the sales consultant was instructed to design the linen closet to the identical footprint as the prior once. I made it clear that I did not have any extra floor tile so this was very important. During the design process, we discussed the fact that the closet itself wasn’t square but had a small ½ inch indention on one side (think if it like a “L” shape). The sales consultant told me that with the new cabinet, I would lose this width space and I was happy to lose ½ an inch. When the cabinet was installed, I ended up losing about 4” in total width space, not the ½ inch I was told about. This I was not happy with but I had bigger issues with this closet. There was a 4” x 15” gap between the front of the cabinet and the tile. There was also a huge gap at the top of the cabinet and the wall and smaller gaps on the side as well as exposed sheet rock. The whole thing looked terrible and I was so disappointed that I was in tears.

To add insult to injury, I was charged the full amount immediately. When I called the sales consultant to ask her about it, I was told the cabinet was “built to spec” and therefore I was charged. I had to complain multiple times and have the quality supervisor come out until they finally agreed to install a board at the back of the cabinet so that it came forward and closed the concrete gap, then install a boarder to hid the open gaps around the sides and top of the cabinet. It’s still not perfect but the “Fixer guy” they kept sending out was creepy and I didn’t want to deal with him anymore. Lastly, the cabinet door made a strange sound upon opening/closing and they had to build me a new door with two hinges instead of three. They had to patch up the holes from the old third hinge and it still doesn’t look great but it’s better than putting up with the creepy guy any longer.

Overall, my latest experience with CC was such a disappointment that I will never use them again. It was definitely a mistake on my part to have a closet company build me bathroom cabinets and linen closets. Now I am stuck with two cabinets that are too tall and not what I asked for and a linen closet that is too narrow plus I spent over $2000 on repairs that I wouldn’t have had to spend if the cabinets were installed as I had asked. Such a disappointment.

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More Review Details

Value for money
Customer service
Turnaround Time
Price Affordability
Discounts and Special Offers
Diversity of Products or Services
Exchange, Refund and Cancellation Policy
Service Scheduling
Product or Service Quality
Advertised vs Delivered

  • What I liked
    • That most employees remained professional
  • What I disliked
    • Not getting what i requested caused too many issues

Reason of review:
Not as described
Preferred solution:
Money back for fixing their errors plus a discount for not receiving what I requested.
Monetary loss:
Product or service
Five Closets Two Bathroom Vanities And One Linen Closet
Review category
Household Services
review #920161

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