Homeowner complaints about roofer spark NC investigation - WFLA News Channel 8

Homeowner complaints about roofer spark NC investigation

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PINEHURST, N.C. -

Local homeowners say they spent thousands of dollars on repairs that didn’t fix the problem, and now the Attorney General is investigating.

The issue highlights how consumers need to protect their money when paying big bucks for a service.

“We have paid them up completely, and it’s still not finished,” said homeowner Marcy Hedges of Moore County.

That’s the short version, of what Hedges calls a long nightmare that began back in October of 2012. Hedges says a salesman with GBS Roofing, out of Sanford, showed up at her door after strong thunderstorms damaged her roof. The salesman offered to have the work done and coordinate payment through her insurance company.

“They came out and took all the money before they even started work,” Hedges said.

Nearly a year later, Marcy and her husband finally got their new metal roof.

“That night it rained, and this is what happened,” she said, pointing to water damage on the ceiling. “It’s gotten larger because every time it rains, we had water coming all the way through this window seeping out onto our floor.

The roof looks nice, but the Hedges say the leaks continue – from the center beam, to the hall vent, to their walls.

“I actually saw water coming down through here, in this door frame,” she said.

For eight months now, they say they’ve been trying to get the problem fixed. But the company is not responding.

The Hedges are not the only ones having problems with GBS Roofing. North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said the company changed its name from Eagle Roofing and moved from Sanford to Apex. At least a dozen other customers have filed complaints about the company. They are spread from the coast to the Triangle and into the Sandhills. Together they claim Eagle Roofing took more than $51,000 in insurance checks and never finished or even started the roofing repairs.

Patty Friedman in Pinehurst is still waiting for Eagle Roofing to do the work she signed up for in March of last year.

Friedman said an Eagle Roof salesman came by the house “and noticed my roof and said, ‘Hey, we can repair your roof and we can do it through insurance.’ I was like, ‘Ah awesome.’”

Friedman signed over her insurance check for nearly $3,500. Friedman said she asked for her money back after Eagle Roofing canceled appointments three times last spring.

But then she had to stop fighting Eagle Roofing and take on a totally different battle.

“My cancer came back, and it had progressed,” she said. “So I spent July through January just focusing on the cancer and working with my doctor, working on a chemo that would work.”

Friedman later followed up with her salesman. In March of this year, he told her he was no longer with the company and she should contact the Attorney General’s office.

Attorney General Roy Cooper has filed a lawsuit against Eagle Roofing and its owner, Brian Smith. The company is now prohibited from taking any money up front. WNCN stopped by Smith’s office in Apex and tried to reach him by phone several times. His cell phone is no longer in service.

WNCN has learned the Attorney General’s Office received at least seven complaints about Eagle Roofing before the company cashed Friedman’s insurance check, and five complaints before Hedges gave the $5,000 of her own money.

Asked if the Attorney General’s Office could have acted faster, Cooper said, “Each case is different, and there are issues you have to consider. I think we’re doing a good job to go after this guy and to try to get consumers’ money back, and we act as quickly as we possibly can when we investigate these cases.

“It’s hard for us to bring an action on behalf of one or two people. We need to see some kind of pattern.”

Hedges and Friedman said they got thrown off because the roofing company coordinated payment directly through their insurance company. But now they realize it was still up to them, not their insurance agents, to safeguard that money and be sure it was going to a trustworthy roofer.

“I don’t want to write it off,” Friedman said. “This guy needs to get the work done or return my money. He’s got to do one or the other.”

It’s unclear if that will ever happen.

But the case points out some red flags for consumers, according to Cooper.

First, be wary of anyone who comes to you offering to do work at your home. It’s better if you seek out a local company yourself.

Also, don’t pay more than a small deposit – in the range of 10 to 15 percent – up front.

And get more than one estimate, and get them in writing.

Also, a consumer's final agreement should be in writing with clear details about the work you expect to be done.

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