July 17, 2024
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Avoiding Scams in LA Interior Design: Meredith Kleinman Case

Avoiding Scams in LA Interior Design Meredith Kleinman Case
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Interior design is a powerful, essential part of our daily lives that affects how we live, work, play, and even heal. Comfortable homes, functional workplaces, beautiful public spaces –these are things we’re all looking for. However, hiring the right interior designer for your project, whether it’s for your home or workspace, might be a challenging task. It is especially complicated to do in Los Angeles, where many people who work in the field as interior designers lack a proper level of professionalism. Unfortunately, the industry today is filled with unprofessional behavior and schemes. 

Many bad and untrustworthy interior design companies exist in LA at various levels. It becomes almost impossible to identify them based on initial conversations. These people always have some kind of trick up their sleeve and can be often recognized by actions like a bad track record on previous assignments, disappearing, or failing to offer sufficient services after receiving payments. This type of behavior has been polluting the reputation of interior designers and affecting people’s lives for as long as the industry’s existed. Here are some warning signs that will help you to avoid scams and unprofessional practices. 

Unreasonable Base Deposits and Excessive Charges

One of the common and easiest ways to fool a client involves asking for a high base investment for a renovation project. An untrustworthy interior design company which uses such a method usually asks for excessively high deposits up-front. Usually, the sum of the deposit is more than half the cost involved for the project. When the company receives the deposit, it starts the initial stage of renovations but ultimately the process ends up leading nowhere, leaving the project stalled with little progress to show. 

Another variation of a similar type of scam is when an interior designer charges you an excessive amount of money for a minimal change to the plan. In the event you don’t agree to pay, the designer might attempt to break contract and stop the project. 

Such manipulations have allegedly been observed in the practice of Meredith Kleinman, a Los-Angeles based interior designer. Her company, Meredith Kleinman Design, offers interior design services for a “wide range of clientele including those who can’t typically afford professional design work”. However, according to several former clients we spoke to, once she closes the deal with her clients, she demands additional excessive payments for better options or simple changes to the project. When these clients refused to pay the sky-high charges that she requested, Meredith stopped working on the project and threatened to sue them. But according to one former client, threats of legal action weren’t the worst thing that could’ve happened to those who worked with Meredith. One of her former clients even claimed that she once sent thugs to his house, who extorted him to pay Meredith Kleinman Design the full price before the project was completed. As these people learned the hard way, working with such interior designers may not only cause you financial loss but may lead to much more serious issues. 

Bad and Defective Services

This often becomes apparent only in the middle of the project, when it turns out that the interior designer that you hired relies on cheap and unskilled laborers and improper work schedules. This kind of scam is often followed by threats by the contractor to revert the work done by the company already to extract further payment – we’ll change it, but it’ll cost you.

Apart from using low-cost labor to maximize the profit, some design companies also tend to use low-quality materials while charging premium prices. They rely on their clients` trust and lack of expertise in the sphere to increase their profit margins. It is always better to do your own research on materials and ask for samples before approving any purchase. 

Unfinished Works:

Requests for unreasonable deposits may be followed by this behavior, the worst scam in the field of interior design. Particularly unscrupulous companies and individuals may simply leave the projects unfinished and disappear once they have received most of the payment. Going back to Meredith Kleinman, another individual we spoke to for comment on this article has also allegedly been involved in a situation when she took payments for unfinished jobs and then didn`t respond to any of her clients` attempts to reach out to her. As it turned out later, Meredith allegedly spent the deposit she received from her client for the purposes of buying furniture for the project on purchasing a boat for her personal use. It seems like Meredith Kleinman managed to build a certain level of trust by delivering a few projects in LA for well-known people, and subsequently used it to allegedly manipulate her clients. Remember, a contractor’s reputation doesn’t always guarantee quality. Always be cautious with large upfront payments and insist on a detailed contract outlining the payment schedule tied to project milestones. 

As you can see, the industry of interior design might be tricky as there are not only truly dedicated experts but also individuals who engage in scamming and unprofessional behavior. Unprofessional and unscrupulous designers like Meredith Kleinman should be banned by the American Society of Interior Designers to prevent scams and protect customers from such a terrible experience. Until then, to protect yourself from such schemes you should conduct thorough research and pay attention to any warning signs of shady practices. We hope this article, as well as the alleged case of Meredith Kleinman’s clients, will help you to avoid renovation fraud and find the right interior designer who will make your dream project come true. 

Published by: Holy Minoza

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