g The Truth About Toll Brothers

The Truth About Toll Brothers

Saturday, March 01, 2008


I contracted with Toll Brothers and paid $70,500 over and above the contract price of my home for a premium, private lot. This is evidenced in writing (Master Deed, Recorded Final Site Plan to name a few). Four years later and after the last lot backing up to the private area was sold, Toll Brothers constructed 3 monstrous cluster condominiums behind our lots.

In doing so, Toll reneged on their contractual obligations and broke clearly defined and well established Michigan law.

I’m not the only party affected. Several neighbors were affected in my Community. A similar scam occurred a few miles away in a neighboring community years earlier.

We were unsuccessful in litigation as we were outspent in Court. Arbitration proved to be a flawed and tainted system. We have no where to turn, but, the Media and Internet to educate and warn others of Toll’s practices.

No one cares that I paid $70,500 for a private premium lot and Toll Brothers did not deliver. More sympathy would be evoked if someone came to my door, held a gun to my head and ran off with $70,500.

But, the result is the same.

I did not create this blog to obtain your sympathy. Rather, I created this blog to gather all the information available, so that you, prospective purchaser, have all the facts before you purchase your Toll Brothers Luxury home.

If you want to learn more, please read on...


I am one of many homeowners who paid a premium for a lot that in the end was far from premium. It appears that Toll makes a practice out of marketing lots as premier, collecting hefty premiums, obtaining signatures on contracts, and years after all is forgotten, removes the single most important characteristic of the lot. I paid an additional $70,500 for privacy only to be staring out four years later at three monstrous condominium clusters that Toll crammed amidst protected woodlands and wetlands. How did this happen? I performed my due diligence. I did not rely solely on the promises of Toll’s sales representatives. For over four years, all documents, including the Master Deed, final site plans filed and recorded at the City, and all marketing materials produced by Toll excluded these monstrous clusters and did not delineate that the land was reserved for future expansion. It is Michigan law for a Seller to disclose the truth about future expansion and development. By law, the Seller cannot mislead the purchaser or omit material facts. By law, the Seller is required to circulate truthful advertisements and publications. By law, the Seller is required to display all of the properties in their Master Plan on a site map in their Sales Models. Not only did Toll intentionally remove the units off of every document, they did not move forward with construction of the clusters until the last lot backing up to the area in question was sold.

If you think I am just one angry homeowner, please ask others residing in Island Lake of Novi. Better yet, head on over to Northville, Michigan and ask those who reside on Troon Court. Some paid $110,000 for a premier, private lot only to have 100 out of the 110 surrounding acres torn down for additional development. If that still does not have your attention, ask residents in Birkdale Pointe in Commerce, Michigan who paid premiums for premier lots backing up to a common area and park. The common area is now a 25 foot by 25 foot brick retention wall. These Toll communities are all within a 10 mile radius. What is happening all over the country?

So now most of you are wondering why not let the Courts handle it? I did. The result was tragic. David v. Goliath, but, the color of justice was green. Out of the chute I was forced into Arbitration. After a year of responding to unnecessary motions, the case was dismissed before it was even arbitrated. Apparently, Toll created a contract where their language protects them from any wrong doing of any magnitude. The contract supersedes the laws of the State of Michigan.

I live in a State where I am protected when purchasing a toaster, but I have no rights or protections available to me for the largest purchase one can make during a lifetime; my home. I live in a Country where Martha Stewart was convicted for a crime involving less than $50,000 and where a runaway bride was indicted for lying. All the while, America’s largest luxury home builder simply flies under the radar.


Note to all...This blog is referenced in a published article.

Excerpt from Independent Media Center of Philadelphia Toll Brothers and Urban Sprawl by Ellen Slack:

More commonly, a building lot is adjacent to open land, with the developers representatives giving various reasons why that open land will certainly remain as it is. Then, after the customer signs a contract, construction begins on the open land.

We were contacted by a Toll customer from Michigan whose miserable experience led to creating a blog, The Truth About Toll Brothers (http://tolltruth.blogspot.com/). This unhappy buyer believes that the developer has a conscious strategy of engaging in such misrepresentation, using it to sell what will later become undesirable sites for premium prices.

To truly enable the broadcasting of the Truth About Toll Brothers, we ALL need to be heard. So, I will continue to gather information from across the country to better inform you of Toll's dealings. If you have a story that needs to be written or a question or comment, please continue to e-mail me, visit my site and/or post your thoughts. Moreover, please e-mail me if you are considering a class action against Toll at Tolltruth@gmail.com.


  • That's a bummer man but doesn't surprise me. Buying any home from a large builder is like playing russian roulette. You got burned. Sell and move on.

    Never mind you probably paid too much anyway.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/07/2006 3:08 PM  

  • Wow. Sounds like Robert Toll was mentored by Ken Lay of Enron. Aren't the Toll brothers busy selling their stock right now?

    And, how about Toll's salary? Inducing buyers by misrepresenting the most expensive line item (land value or lot premium) is one sure way to beef up your salary. Then surround yourself with a mammoth team of lawyers and you've got a recipe for success!

    Other than fraud, how could an exec make a salary of $50 Million in this market? Pulte's CEO made only $5 Million in the same year. Hmmmmm.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/10/2006 2:07 PM  

  • You have to watch these builders, they are only out to make $$$, not out to build you a nice home. If you don't keep on top of them, they'll screw you to make a few extra bucks.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/18/2006 1:03 PM  

  • Thank you for the information. I will never buy a Toll Home.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/19/2006 2:50 PM  

  • Oh, come on you guys. Get out there and buy a Toll Brothers' home. Better yet, skip the house (it'll be a piece of crap anyway) and just buy the "Premier Lot". You'll have at least 2-3 years of prime beauty before Toll puts a road in your backyard (oops, did they accidentally show you the wrong plat map?!).

    It's $100K off of your house and into Big Bob Toll's wallet. How else is Robert Toll going to keep his $50,000,000/year salary and his MacroMcMansions?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/20/2006 12:49 PM  

  • I, unfortunately, also own a Toll Brothers house.

    Water has been entering the home through the base of the windows through holes drilled by Toll. The water collects between the interior and exterior walls and has caused extensive water and mold damage. Practically EVERY window has leaked and allowed water to enter between the walls.

    Also, Toll did not flash the chimney in my two story family room. It had cracks and water stains on the wall. At first, Toll said it was simply "settlement" of the home. Later, they did come to remedy the problem and ripped out the entire 2- story wall. Five months later, the wall is STILL ripped out. They won't come back and finish.

    I can go on for pages about Toll's faulty construction. If a homeowner is "lucky" enough to get Toll to fix any problems, one can almost guarantee that the repair will need repairing. I am not even referring to minor repairs that most builders correct under warranty. I speak of extensive water damage - leaking roof, misapplied flashing on bay window, grading of property so water backs up to the houes, malfunctioning pool, etc.

    I will NEVER buy a Toll Brothers home. I would NEVER recommend anyone purchase one, no matter the price. Incidentally, this home was originally on the market for $975K. Dishonesty and incompetence on the part of Toll will prevail once that contract is signed. The sanctimonious attitudes of their employees are extremely offensive, particularly especially considering that they certainly are not the sharpest tools in the shed.

    Beware of Toll Brothers "arbitration agreement" that is included in their contract. Beware of "open space" language in their contracts. Better yet, don't come withing distance of a Toll Brother contract.

    It does not matter what Toll tells you or puts in writing regarding their warranty. Their "game" is to not respond until your warranty is up and then tell the buyer the home is not under warranty. Beware, this is a dishonest group.

    My home is torn up and inhabitable. Toll started remediation and walked 5 months ago. Oh, I did write Bob Toll and sent photos of the conditions here. No response from Mr. Toll, but his attorney shot me a letter.

    I cannot stress enough, stay away from Toll Brothers homes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/20/2006 11:01 AM  

  • For Texas residents, file a complaint with the Texas Residential Construction Commission. This commission is in place to force builders like Toll Brothers to correct their construction deficiencies.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/27/2006 10:25 AM  

  • Construction defects seem to be on a site-to-site basis. But Toll's overall strategy of upcharging for "premium" property only to knowingly ruin its value for their own greed has to be run at a higher level in the company. This type of scam needs to be scrutinized at the national level. Perhaps the SEC?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/30/2006 8:03 AM  

  • I, too, own a Toll home and wish I didn't. The house is OK, but I overpaid for what I got in the house and the neighborhood. Toll has left our neighborhood in a trail of unkept promises, yet still has the power to keep our monthly dues keep going up, up, up. What ever happened to truth in advertising? You hit it on the head when you said that people in the U.S. have more protection when buying a toaster!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/30/2006 10:35 AM  

  • 4 years ago, I walked into a Michigan Toll sales office shortly after its grand opening. My husband and I wanted, more than anything else, a lot with a private backyard. I was intrigued by Lot 17, but apprehensive of its high price. $65,000. Of course, I inquired.

    I asked pointblank about the land behind Lot 17. I was told, repeatedly, that nothing would be built behind this lot – no development at all - ever. I was shown erroneous brochures. I was shown an erroneous Master Deed. I was shown an erroneous Final Site Plan (and, trust me, I know what “preliminary” means and I know what “final” means). And I was shown the full-color version of the erroneous Site Plan posted prominently in the sales office.

    I spent some time investigating. I went to the City to verify that the data in the Master Deed and on the Final Site Plan was correct. Sure enough, all of Toll’s plans were laid out just as they said. No development behind my lot or the adjacent lots. And, according to the laws of the State of Michigan, these documents had to be accurate. Otherwise, my rights could surely be violated and the seller would be in direct violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, the Michigan Condominium Act and the Local Ordinances of the City. The legal requirement was on Toll to tell the truth, to disclose the information. Every time they handed me a document, every time they opened their mouths.

    Well, here I sit, 4 years later, looking out to cheap condominiums. No privacy here. I lost my rights and my $65,000. I turned to Toll, then the City, then the legal system. There was no justice to be found. Just a lot of people running and hiding behind Arbitration clauses, Integration clauses, anything but the truth.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/30/2006 10:38 AM  


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/31/2006 10:13 AM  

  • For the homeowner in California waiting for Toll to make repairs. That is exactly their game. You wait and wait, then they later tell you your warranty is up. They "loose" records. Don't wait. Demand, demand, and continue to demand or you WILL be ignored. If you are lucky, Toll will make a shoddy repair close to the time your warranty is up. That will be the last you see of Toll Brothers. Then it's up to you to correct the Toll repairs. I am a Toll Brothers homeowner, and Toll has NEVER corrected a problem correctly the first time. They will make excuses for the bad repairs, and often will find a way to blame the homeowner or someone else. These Toll people are totally dishonest.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/01/2006 2:23 PM  

  • We all have problems with Toll Brothers and I was hoping to put our efforts together and maybe find enough people for class action against that giant who manage to get away with the accountability for ruing peoples lives all over the country.
    Our house is left with building codes violation after warranty work and now we are pressured by local building inspectors to let Toll correct the problems and if we will not they will dump the responsibility on us. We can’t let them back in. They manage to damage the house enough already during warranty work and we don’t feel like we even own this house because they make rules for us except that they don’t pay our mortgage.
    We made first complaint to FTC and I would like everybody to do the same. FTC will investigate if they get enough complaint about the same thing. The extent to which an ad represents a pattern of deception rather than an isolated occurrence. The FTC is authorized to act when it appears that a company's advertising is deceptive and when FTC action is in the public interest. Although the FTC cannot intervene in an individual dispute between a consumer and a company, the agency relies on many sources -- including complaints from consumers -- to find out about ads that may be deceptive.

    Please let me know who would be interested so we all could get the justice we deserve. It is time for pay back!
    Please email all correspondence to: TollBrothers_Victim@Yahoo.com

    Liz D.

    By Anonymous Liz, at 9/02/2006 1:09 AM  


    There is no "solution" to living in a Toll home, other than not buying one to begin with. HOWEVER, before your first year is over, HIRE A HOME INSPECTOR to thoroughly inspect the house. You would do this if you were buying a used house, and unfortunately with Toll, it's really no different!

    We hired an inspector after living in our Toll monstrosity for 11 months. It cost $250. He wrote up pages of defects (including digital pix of the damaged areas) and found thousands and thousands of dollars worth of repairs (lots of shoddy insulation and electrical work in the attic spaces!).

    Again, it's no solution, but all we had to do was make a copy of his report and give it to Toll. After staying on them for OVER 4 YEARS to do most of the repairs, I think we got a lot more work out of Toll than we would have without an inspector.

    Finally, if you think your local city inspector is protecting you, guess again. His palms are greased and his focus is on protecting his relationship with Toll Brothers. You're on your own when you buy a Toll home.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/02/2006 8:10 AM  

  • Well we had Toll (actually I should say unskilled subcontractors) working on the house for past 8 months and the house got worst instead as a result of their work including building code violation which we did not have when we purchased. From 57 items at 60 days warranty we are up to 94 items. I will never let Toll repair anything again even a small thing. I want to avoid bigger damages.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/02/2006 6:22 PM  

  • Excellent blog. Very informative about the inner workings of the builder bussiness. Very frightening too. You are courageous to share your story, it will certainly help others avoid the difficulties you've had.

    Toll is proposing to purchase 200 acres in our back yard. Any advice on how to keep them out, or at least keep them honest?

    By Anonymous braxil, at 9/18/2006 10:07 PM  

  • Braxil, Please e-mail me at TollTruth@gmail.com so we can talk.

    By Blogger truth be tolled, at 9/19/2006 10:26 AM  

  • I own a Toll home it has not been all that bad of an experience, but at some point I was becoming a bit frustrated with my warranty issues. I had been working with the local management and figured it was time to go over their head or try some other channel to get them to step up the quality of the warranty work.

    I thought all I would have to do is go to their website, look for customer service and see who to contact for warranty issues. Their website is devoted to sales. What kind of Fortune 500 company does not have a customer service contact on their website!!!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/17/2006 9:33 PM  

  • I bought a Toll Home and it was wonderful. I had some minor warranty work which was quickly and properly taken care of. I guess I was one of the lucky ones. My wife and family love our Toll home.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/28/2006 8:16 AM  

  • Yes. You were LUCKY.

    By Blogger truth be tolled, at 11/28/2006 10:30 AM  

  • I find Toll Brothers to be a rather detestible company. They have never had any scruples. They look out for themselves(shareholders, as well). I had a friend who was the head lawyer of the PA homebuilders assoc. back in the 70"s when the Toll boys started their business, and he said years ago to watch out for these guys they know how to twist the laws. Robert Toll graduated from U Penn law school and I'm sure Toll Brothers has at least as many lawyers on staff as the democratic national committee. Anyone interested really should read their bio on their website.
    They have rarely been turned down for ANY development plans. The marketing is superb! How else could you find so many people buying their "lifestyle" homes.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11/30/2006 1:31 PM  

  • Do you know your luxary expensive Toll home is modular? I was told that the option that I choose cannot be changed because the house has been built off-site. The "house" will be moved to the site piece by piece. If I have to change it I have to pay "reverve" charge. I was shock because the house permit has not been approved and I haven't been any pre-construction meeting yet. I was never told that the house has been built off-site and I haven't see a brick laid on the lot yet. When we walked the lot, we were told where the location of well, septic and house location before I signed the contract. The permit they apply is totally different from what we were told or specified in the contract. When I asked to change back to the original that they showed me, I was told permit has been applied and I cannot change it. After talking to City permit application guy, he told me he didn't request to change. It is Toll's idea. He is more than welcome to make the change if Toll resubmit the permit. In fact, he prefer the original idea and tell us he can expedite the process. Now, Toll said they cannot change and didn't explain why. It seems that this is pattern they do whatever they want to do once you are on hook.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5/04/2007 12:10 PM  

  • did anyone hear about the issues they may have in the pocono's, google the pocono press intereting reading, and look for related articles on Toll Brothers. I believe it was for June 2007. They maybe getting back for all the bad things that they have done to other people. I am just waiting to see the out come. Have friends and family up there they email me or send me the articles.
    I had so many problems with them and the property they sold us that everyone I know would not purchase a property from them. After the way they treated me and my family.
    I regret not buying a handy man special and reduing it and stay in my other home while completing the handy man special.
    Well good luck to all, and remember what goes around comes around. And sometimes it is our love ones that pay for our mistakes, not us.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/22/2007 10:37 PM  

  • I think Toll brothers are a bunch of jerks they are quick to collect your down payment but they take there sweet time finishing there homes which arent even done the way they promised. The way i see it Toll brothers are the ones breaking contracts,The are full of lies.And they are very sneaky,they think because they have some much money that they can break contracts and hurt families and be dishonest, how do you people sleep at night???

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/28/2007 10:09 PM  

  • Well, I will add my Thief Brothers story to the pile.

    We wanted to live up in the Desert Ridge area (north suburb of Phoenix) and found the Thief Brother's Aviano sub-division. We looked at a corner lot that sat with the road into the community on our north and a little larger feeder road that would be our west border, and nothing but vacant land behind that.

    As a licensed realtor, I stood on the back of this lot and asked the saleswoman 5 or 6 specific questions about the future road development and the usage of the vacant parcel behind. Her response: 'that road dead ends into a private family ranch and the woman who owns it is never going to sell it, so this road will only be used by your neighbors to get in and out of the sub-division'... She also informed us that she knew of no plans for the vacant lot. We read the public report (another sham) and tried to do our due diligence in researching the area but based on my knowledge of the disclosure laws and our lack of 'red flags' at the time, we ponied up 45,000.00and signed the contract, picked all of our structural and asthetic upgrades and moved on happily down the path thinking we had things going our way.

    Then reality hit. We made it a point to visit the site at least once a week and were astonished to find such terrible building practices. First off, THEY FRAMED THE WRONG HOUSE. Oh, they at least got the model right, but framed us the standard one and missed 6 very large structural upgrades. They also screwed up the plumbing placements and the exit pipes for the toilets were sitting in the base of the wall frame. They literally had to notch out huge chunks in the base of the wall to even set the wall. Needless to say I was furious and when I started to raise hell, they promptly replaced the site manager with another person. I went through 4 different individuals before it was all said and done.

    But I save the best for last. We noticed a public notice sign for a rezoning hearing on the vacant land behind our house and decided to attend. It was at this meeting that we found out that the road our Thief Brothers saleswoman described as a quaint little entrance into the sub-division was actually going to be an extension of a north/south running freeway and would be dumping 50,000 - 60,000 cars per day in my backyard at speeds over 55 mph. We also found out that the Thief Brothers actually owned the vacant land, had already platted it as another phase of Aviano.

    It wasn't until that night that we realized we had been taken and started to due indepth research. It wasn't until then that we found all of this garbage on The Thief Brothers. We dug into it more deeply and finally found the details deeply buried in the Maricopa County road expansion plans. There was absolutely no way we could have done the reseach and found these details if we hadn't known exactly what we were looking for.

    As you can imagine, the Thief Brothers denied any wrong doing. They continued to build our shoddy house, changed personnel every 2 weeks, and act like nothing happened.

    We consulted a very well known real estate attorney who was currently working on many lawsuits against these criminals. In the end, although we had a great chance to win, we decided to walk away from the contract and our 45,000.00 earnest money deposit. We did not want to pursue a court fight knowing the Thief Brothers would fight to the bitter end just to run up our attorney fees.

    I was crushed when the Arizona Real Estate Department said they saw nothing wrong with the way the Thief Brothers acted. I actually asked the moron at this department that if I, as a licensed realtor, lied and failed to disclose these major material facts in selling this same house, they would have jumped on me like a fat man on a pizza. I got no response!

    Well, I can only say every day how sorry I am for not looking into the Thief Brothers before we signed. But I am also glad we walked away from the contract and don't have to deal with these criminals anymore.


    By Anonymous Doug The Dirt Dealer, at 1/11/2008 11:15 AM  

  • I've had more gray hairs and moments of frustration since moving into our Toll house than I've ever had with any other experience. We hired an inspector to follow the building process, and we think the house is Ok so far (we'll call him in again for another look before our warranty expires), but I am sooo disappointed with the sloppy details of construction and with the cheap finishes. We had a fridge space that was too small, a gas leak, a plumbing leak, an expletive on a wall, chipped cabinets and scratched floors, and excess sediment in the water... that was just the first month...

    I've spent hours chasing the workmen down and trying to get things fixed. I really hate this house and can;t wait until the day we sell it. Toll has the opportunity to build lifelong customer loyalty--many of us will be looking for vacation homes or future homes... but they completely screw it up by producing shoddy houses. I would never ever buy Toll again, and I tell my friends and my family that every day... I think the word is getting out...

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/05/2008 11:57 PM  

  • I have no idea there are so many stories out there. This is a bully company, and the stuff they put into the contract is unbelievable. They have no customer service. They cancelled my town home project, not telling us, happily sitting on our deposit until we found out through one of the homeowners. I spent a week, calling everyday, from project manager to regional president, every assistant said, oh he will call you back. NONE of them replied. They say I will receive my deposit in two weeks, and after I went into their regional headquarter for my $35,000 deposit, they shut the door on me and said wait another four weeks. That's my money!!! I am angry these people can actually getting away with what they are doing, but happy that I am not buying a home from them! The so called national leading builder should be sent to jail for their lies and robbery.

    Anyone know what the most effect way to get them? I want to try BBB, and FTC, but think this bureaucracy probably goes all the way there too.

    By Blogger Cynthia, at 5/28/2008 9:59 AM  

  • Recently closed on a house in the Tampa area. Toll did "improvement" to the lot and charged me an additional $100K. I heard the court system in Fl is controlled by inept, and just plain stupid judges that always rule in Toll's favor. I will sell the house at a loss, and stay away from Toll, and Fl.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7/24/2008 11:06 PM  

  • Place a large sign on your front yard stating how you have been treated by Toll brothers. Anyone driving by will stop to read and not buy.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9/05/2008 7:40 PM  

  • Toll Brothers was so disappointing for us in PA. We bought a house with them and they promised a loan. Then they pulled back the loan and charged us interest on the house while it sat there. $100.00 a day until our other house would sell. We put down a $100,000 and they tried to put the old fixtures back in the house hoping we wouldn't settle. They are not a good company to deal with.

    By Anonymous Keithdc1@yahoo.com, at 1/06/2009 4:14 PM  

  • I worked for toll brothers in the knox Indiana facility for 2 years.If people seen the lumber quality that goes into these homes they would be apalled.I personaly delivered a load of trusses to a site in glenview illinois that had laid in the yard in knox for 3 or 4 months uncovered and in the open no shelter of any kind.when i delivered them they were weathered very bad possibly molded,brought it too the attention of the plant manager and now i am unemployed.Toll brothers is a very poor company to do any business with.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/13/2009 4:27 PM  

  • I looked at a Toll House today. Seemed quite nice. Tonight is Google homework. Wow.

    When people say "If I can only save 1 life' well people you saved one families life.

    By Blogger Tom, at 8/19/2010 12:14 AM  

  • Thank you so much for this information. My husband and I have been considering buying a Toll Brothers home in Walpole, MA but have now decided to steer clear. Thanks so much for saving us from what could have become a very costly mistake.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10/04/2010 11:48 PM  

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