Ask Your Question

Angie's List Answers is the trusted spot to ask home improvement and health questions and get answers from service companies, health providers and consumers. For ratings and reviews on companies in your area, search Angie's List.

 
 
or
Submit
Top 30 Days Experts
Rank Leader Points*
1 kstreett 240
2 Guest_9020487 110
3 Guest_9190926 105
4 GoldenKid 100
5 ahowell 95
6 KnowledgeBase 95
7 skbloom 80
8 Guest_98024861 70
9 Guest_9311297 70
10 Guest_9400529 70

*Updates every 4 hours

Browse Projects By Category

Question DetailsAsked on 7/8/2016

roof

My roofer knocked my door and told me the roof was damaged by the hail. He allured us to sign a contract and said he will responsible for all the deductible ($6075). But during making the contract they cheated us without leaving that record. Instead they wrote the money the insurance company estimated($25983). He told me it is just for the mortgage company to release the check issued by the insurance company, I trusted him. Then they asked upfront money ($9500). But since they withdraw the money, they started to postpone the work and hard to contact. Now they told me it will start July 9 and I need to pay the deductible. , They seems to try to use our anger to cancel the project so that they could get the fee of breaking contract(35% of $25983) 2, The contract has some fraud information. They did not register at BBB and NAHB, though in the contract they put them in. 4, the website does not exist. With all these fraud information on the contract, we guess we are facing a scammer.

Categ

Do you have the same question? Follow this Question


5 Answers

Voted Best Answer
1
Vote

Sure sounds like it to me - of course because the deductible thing was not in the written contract, THAT is obviously when you should have said WHOA and run away, but 20-20 hindsight on that. On 20-20 hindsight - unfortunately it is a mistake to up-front trust vendors before you get to know them because there are a fair percentage who are shysters. And NEVER sign a contract right off with someone who comes to your door selling - check references, get competitive bids, etc. Generally, if they come to you for more than just to hand you a flyer or a brochure and a no-pressure offer to do a bid and do work for you (like thehouse needs painting, etc), if someone comes to you uinsolicited that is a big yellow flag - they may be legit, but commonly are not, especially in case of "storm chasers" and such.


Here is what I would do (not addressing the other "fraud" items in the contract, not knowing wht they are:


1) sounds like it has been more than the mandatory 3-day federal home-signed contract cancellation period, but google for your state's cancellation period, and if still within it (or within the federal period), send cancellation notice per the rules for your area (usually certified return receipt mail or registered mail)


2) try to cancel the $9500 payment - if they are being paid from the insurance money, they should not be getting any upfront money from you because they will be getting the whole insurance payment check. In fact, on the cancellation of the contract - since he already has a $9500 up-front paymetn from you, that is more than the 35% termination fee, so he could not be asking you for more money anyway even if he were due the cancellation fee (which BTW a court would most likely deem to be excessive in the circumstances and not allow to stand)


3) you SHOULD legally have been paying the deductible under the contract, though obviouslky do NOT pay it now - their unwritten claim that they would pay/cover the deductible is insurance fraud, and would have involved you in that crime too


4) contact the insurance company and tell them you feel this is a fraudulent contract - they will generally revoke the claim adjustment or change the amount to zero (to be followed up by a new adjustment)and put the guy on a fraud list - meaning his contract amount would now be zero, and they will commonly follow up on pursuing him for insurance fraud. Also- since fraud coverage is likely part of your policy and might cover the $9500 you paid out already (subject to deductible), they may provide legal representation and help you initiate criminal charges against this guy, as well as help try to get your $9500 back


5) If you are prepared to pursue this as fraud, I would phone/ eMail/ and certified mail notify him you believe his contract is fraudulent and he is NOT going to be doing the job and is not allowed on your property


6) contact your bank or credit card company fraud department and see if they can do anything for you about recouping the money from his account or putting a fraud hold on his account - though I would bet he took the money out as cash or "cashed" the check rather than depoisited it in his own account - but there might have been a holdon funds at his bank you can recover. And if on credit card put fraud alert on your card (they may issue you a new one) and dispute the charge per instructions on back of your bill, if bank account since you said "since they withdraw the money" if you gave them account withdrawal authorization you need to talk to the bank about closing that account immediately. If paid by check, put a fraud alert on the account regarding that guy, because they may try to withdraw more money


7) you will undoubtedly need an attorney so get with one specializing in contracts and consumer fraud ASAP - because this guy may try intimidation, strong-arming, vandalism, false lien filing, etc to get more money out of you. Attorney should also help you contact the local consumer fraud division (may be city, county, or state based in your area) to help put this "storm chaser" guy out of business. Will also be necessary probably to get a court revocation if the guy tries to file a lien on your house - though most scammers don't do that because it means they have to go to court to enforce it, and crooksw for some reason tend to not like standing before a judge


8) after the important stuff is out of the way, I would file a complaint with the state licensing board, if roofers have to be licensed in your area. If he is NOT licensed but should be, that is yet another good reason for you to cancel the contract without penalty.


9) And of course, after all is said and done, an appropriate Review on Angies List would be in order - and after a D or F review (presumably F in this case) they will contact you about details and presumably dump the guy from AL listings


10) if he lists BBB and NAHB membership on contract and are not members, send copy to those organizations for them to pursue him for fraud too


11) one afterthought - did the insurance company provide the $25983 number, or is this something HE told you - because that might not be legit either (possibly why he wantedthe $9500 up front), because unless you have grapefruit or larger hail that damaged the sheathing (plywood or OSB or particle board) also, unless you have a might big house (like 5000 SF range roof size) tht is a LOT of money for a reshingle job, assuming here you are talking asphalt shingles. Could be he conned you on the claim adjustment amount too

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

0
Votes

Thank God I could get so much great advice. From your advice we started to do some research on the background of the roofing company and realized that this is absolutely a scammer company. The person has changed his name several times and left bad records everywhere. one of his previous customer said “he has an length criminal history and according to Dallas police ICE officals have a hold on him for being in the country illegally check out these two site”. What is the best way to deal with this kind of people?


4) contact the insurance company and tell them you feel this is a fraudulent contract - they will generally revoke the claim adjustment or change the amount to zero (to be followed up by a new adjustment)and put the guy on a fraud list - meaning his contract amount would now be zero, and they will commonly follow up on pursuing him for insurance fraud. Also- since fraud coverage is likely part of your policy and might cover the $9500 you paid out already (subject to deductible), they may provide legal representation and help you initiate criminal charges against this guy, as well as help try to get your $9500 back

I did not have the fraud coverage, never notice about it before. If so, is it still worth to go through the insurance company?


7) you will undoubtedly need an attorney so get with one specializing in contracts and consumer fraud ASAP - because this guy may try intimidation, strong-arming, vandalism, false lien filing, etc to get more money out of you. Attorney should also help you contact the local consumer fraud division (may be city, county, or state based in your area) to help put this "storm chaser" guy out of business. Will also be necessary probably to get a court revocation if the guy tries to file a lien on your house - though most scammers don't do that because it means they have to go to court to enforce it, and crooksw for some reason tend to not like standing before a judge

We contacted an attorney. He briefly went through the process and the contract and think he could help us, but he worried that the company would simply claim bankruptcy and we end up getting nothing.

11) one afterthought - did the insurance company provide the $25983 number, or is this something HE told you - because that might not be legit either (possibly why he wantedthe $9500 up front), because unless you have grapefruit or larger hail that damaged the sheathing (plywood or OSB or particle board) also, unless you have a might big house (like 5000 SF range roof size) tht is a LOT of money for a reshingle job, assuming here you are talking asphalt shingles. Could be he conned you on the claim adjustment amount too

----It was the adjuster from insurance company who determined the number. Our home is not big, about 3000sf.

Answered 2 years ago by ykdang

0
Votes

Will also be necessary probably to get a court revocation if the guy tries to file a lien on your house - though most scammers don't do that because it means they have to go to court to enforce it, and crooksw for some reason tend to not like standing before a judge.


Can you explain a little bit detail about the “file a lien to your house"? I saw a negative review in BBB for their company(another name, so I didnot see before) as below:

Complaint
********* is the owner of this company there were a number of promises made and they did not keep any, they did complete the roof an amount was agreed
on. they were to send us the warranty and the lien release this was a few months ago we have yet to get this information everytime we call they say it's in the mail not they will not answer the phone

Desired Settlement
The time I have used trying to get this information from the company, I called the morg company and they have tried to put a lien on our property.

Business Response
ROOFING CLAIMS SPECIALISTS
XXXXXXXX CASE #
08/19/2014
To whom this may concern, the problem was resolve Mr&Mrs *** received the warranty paper work. Homeowner (Mr&Mrs ***) confirm with me that they had received the warranty paper work and that everything was fine with the work perform on the property.

Sincerely,
RCS Roofing

Consumer Response
Case XXXXXXXX - Per the notice from the servicer company, stating we confirmed the warranty was received is not True. Nor has the work promised.
This is a open case # XXXXXXXX We are not sure if the company placed a lien on our property and the warranty or the brick or ceiling work was completed.

Answered 2 years ago by ykdang

0
Votes

If you have proof of prior criminal fraud activities ofthis kind, I would talk ASAP with the police fraud unit and/or local district attorney/prosecuting attorney's office about whether they can take some action on your behalf - especiually if this guy is actually wanted by them for similar fraud or by ICE for deportation, if they pick him up and jail him he is not likely to cause you more trouble - though getting your $ back would be highly unlikely in that case too, if there is any chance of that now.


Don't forget the possibility your homeowner's insurance has fraud coverage, minus deductible most likely but probably would cover at least some of the $9500 if you don't get it back from him. Insurance company might want a police report before they will do much, because they do not like getting into the middle of construction contract disputes - but if insurance fraud is involved (as sounds like here, though possibly only verbal) they will likely put their fraud investigation unit on it.


On liens - a "mechanic's lien" is a document the service provider or builder files with county clerk and recorder or court or whatever depending on state laws, that puts a restriction on your property title, for a certain $ amount (plus maybe interest over time). In most states can be put on or filed against house and car titles for home construction/improvement or for car repairs/loans, as applicable. The property title cannot be transferred without that lien being "satisfied" - by paying it off in the property transfer escrow, by the person/company who filed it "releasing it" - basically cancelling the lien claim, or by the person who filed it agreeing with the buyer for the buyer to assumer the property subject to the lien (very rarely done on residential property). So, as far as title goes, the lien does little to your property directly until you try to transfer it.


HOWEVER - the filer of the lien can go to court to 'enforce" or "perfect" the lien claim - basically get a court order that the lien is valid (and the property owner is NOT notified of this court hearing in all states) and that he can foreclose on the property. He can then, depending on state laws, take possession of your property (with police or court marshall backing him up) and/or put it up for auction - the classic "courthouse steps sale" same as is done for loan foreclosures. Of course, in each state the actual steps vary, and in at least most you have the option of paying off the lien or posting bond in the lien amount while contesting the lien.


Now the nasty side-effects of a lien filing - whether the filing is legitimate or not. First, your mortgage company's computer (or more commonly a company they pay for this info) keeps a close eye on title transers and lien filings on properties they loaned money on - they will at least get on your case seriously if a lien is filed, may demand you post a bond in the lien amount PLUS estimated lien settlement/attorney's costs to protect their mortgage interest, and in many mortgage/deed of trust documents a lien being filed against the property consitutes a default under the contract potentially making the house loan immediately due and payable in full.


Also - because liens go on the state UCC registry (Uniform Commercial Code, which regulates such contract actions and almost all states adhere to) and will commonly be reported to one or more credit bureaus as a default action, other companies you have loans or lines of credit with may see this pop up in their computer system automatically, and like with mortgages many credit contracts provide that any debt collection action or lien against you or your property constitutes a default under THEIR contract - called a "mutual default" clause or something similar. So, potentially your car loan, store charge accounts, credit cards, personally owned business accounts, etc might all be called as immediately due and payable - a nightmare scenario if it happens to you. Also, a damaged credit rating from having a default on your record affects costs of things like insurance and interest rates on any future loans for about 7 years, so those rates might go up too - potentially for as long as 7 yrs years AFTER the lien is released or voided.


Course I am not an attorney so I am speaking only from construction biusiness experience and a bunch of commercial/contract law courses in the past - your attorney can give you deeper insight into the mechanicsms and consequences of a lien filing. You CAN fight a lien in court - and when it is filed the filer legally (at least in most if not all states) has to send you an official notice of the lien filing so you should know when it happens, but far better to not have to go that route and pay an attorney to convince the court you do not owe the debt so the lien is invalid. ALSO - as it stands with your case right now, with a signed contract in hand, I would say the presumption would be in favor of the contractor - so to fight the lien you would have to prove that the contract is illegal or invalid under law, that it was fraudently obtained, or that you do not owe any money because you already paid more than the cancellation fee (which is probably why he asked for the $9500, so it would be more than the cancellation fee thereby allowing him to avoid the court issue of a lien dispute).


Certainly if still within the federal 3-day or your state however long revocation period and the contract meets the terms o the law (generally if contract was signed at your house/property, and sometimes for home repairs for a certain number of days regardless of where signed) I would go through the specified procedure to cancel the contract - in which case he would have to (legally anyway) refund the deposit.


I would definitely talk to an attorney specializing in home/construction contract law and dispultes and let him/her review the contract and the research you did on the guy, whether or not you intend to sue to void the contract, because the possibility of a lien is out there - plus right now you are out $9500 to a contractor you definitely do NOT want to use so you want the contract cancelled, and hopefully get at least some of yoru money back. This guy may operate on the basis that if there is a dispute early on by someone wanting to cancel, he negotiates down to maybe a 10-15% cancellation fee (so about $2500-4000 range) to avoid him being exposed to the law - could be he does a lot of cancellations and walks away with $500-1000 or so for his time without ever doing any work on many of the jobs. The threat of a fraud claim or suit to cancel the contract might get you a fair amount of the money back - you would have to discuss the pros and cons with the attorney, and measure that against the "right and wrong" of the situation - i.e. if you want to spend legal money to try to prosecute a case against him when in reality getting your money back at all (other than through insurance possibly) is pretty much a long shot. Likely, any money you got back would be from the deposit of someone else he has done the same thing with, if the money has not all been squirreled away out of reach already.


Be cautious what you say about this guy to anyone to avoid a possible slander claim by him (either by lawsuit for slander, which is probably pretty unlikely assuming he does not want to be exposed to the law) but can also make his lien case look better in court if you have been bad-mouthing him. You can say you "believe" of "feel" this is not legit or that he is not a legitimate contractor, or you can tell exactly the truth about what has happened, but don't make your assumptions or feelings sound like statements of fact which hemight be able to disprove. Your attorney should caution you about this - and will probably tell you to not talk to anyone about the case and not post anything more here (and be sure to give him a copy of this question thread printout too for his info and knowledge of what you have been told about this situation already).


One other thing the attorney might work on - the 35% cancellation fee, particularly if he has not bought any materials or such, could be deemed unreasonably high by a court (including possibly a small-claims court, and most especially if he has a criminal fraud background doing this sort of thing) so the attorney might be able to get some relief for you that way too, though considering the $ amounts involved it would be a tight race between legal fees eating up your money and anything you might get back. Small claims court is designed for this sort of case and might end up being your end result, but I would not go into it without at least an attorney's advice up front even if he/she cannot represent you in the court (small claims court ocmmonluy forbids attorneys arguing the court case).

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

0
Votes

Thank you very much to teach us a lot. There great knowledge will help us a lot for now and future. After a long thought we finally decided to continue negotiate with company. One good sign is that last week they just finished a work. We consulted the homeowner and he is satified. So we maybe misjudged them by simply basing on the previous records, problems on the contract and disputes between us. We have asked the angies list admin the remove some inappropirate answers so that may be offending. But definitely we will sill be cautious with the whole process in the next steps.

Answered 2 years ago by ykdang

0
Votes

Glad my comments helped, and good luck. Considering the start and the false BBB and NAHB references and previous red flags and such I would certainly be careful, and keep copies of all documents, make sure everything is done in writing, that you get lien releases both from the roofer and from the roofing materials supplier before allowing final payment, and take photos to document conditions before, during, and after the work.


And keep an eye on the work - that he is doing what was promised, putting on water barrier, ice and water shield as appropriate for your area, new flashing and such, putting gutters back up in good shape if taken down to reroof, good cleanup and disposal, etc.


And about the $9500- since he was originally offerring to to the job for the adjusted claim amount, if you paid him $9500 up front (VERY unusual on an insurance claim job) that would mean, as I read it, he will "owe you" $9500 after the job is done ? SO he should not be getting the insurance check made out to him - should go through escrow with the money split between you and him - maybe the mortage company is doing this if they are involved ? Otherwise he could end up $9500 ahead of you and you would have no hold over him and could be out that money permanently. If your signature is needed to deposit the check (made out to you and him both with and AND between the names for instance) perhaps going to the bank together to cash it with the stipulation to the cashier upfront how much is being handed to each of you would be the way to go. Bank managers and head cashiers are used to this - one check with AND payment phrasing meaning generally has to be endorsed by both, and stipulating to them who is getting how much of the amount BEFORE it is counted out or transferred to another account.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD




Related Questions


Terms Of Use
|
Privacy Policy