Couple Sues After 'Disastrous' Home Redo for HGTV

NC couple says 'Love It or List It' is a sham
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2016 2:07 PM CDT
Updated Apr 23, 2016 7:15 AM CDT
Couple Sues After 'Disastrous' Home Redo for HGTV
Reality TV: not so real?   (Shutterstock)

When Deena Murphy and Timothy Sullivan wanted to renovate their Raleigh, NC, rental property, they didn't want a DIY project, so they did what they thought was the next best thing: signed up to have an HGTV show do it for them. But per a lawsuit the couple has now filed against Big Coat, the production company behind Love It or List It, as well as the local contractor who overhauled the home, they were left with "disastrous work," including holes in the floor and windows painted shut, the Charlotte Observer reports. The suit also alleges the "reality-TV" program is "scripted, with 'roles' and reactions assigned to the various performers and participants, including the homeowners." And the show's hosts, designer Hilary Farr and real estate agent David Visentin, and its resident general contractor? "Actors or television personalities … [who don't play] more than a casual role in the actual renovation process."

Per their contract with Big Coat, the couple deposited $140,000 that would be used to pay Aaron Fitz Construction and its subcontractors. About $85,000 was distributed to Aaron Fitz during the overhaul, even though Murphy and Sullivan say they expressed concerns about mediocre reviews seen on Angie's List. The rest of the money got pumped into producing the show, the couple claims, reports They say the show is "even more of a scam than it generally seems," as the AV Club frames it. "The homeowners' funds essentially pay the cost of creating a stage set for this television series," the suit says. A statement from Big Coat's CEO says the company will "vigorously defend what we consider to be false allegations." (This DIY project took six months to make and much less time to eat.)

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