The Investigators: Bell Rung By A Roofer - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

The Investigators: Bell Rung By A Roofer


* Do Not Sign A Contract On The Spot. Some door-to-door roofers will ask you to commit right away. You should never be pressured to sign before vetting the roofing company. Some roofers may ask you to sign a contingency agreement. That is acceptable only if that company has already settled with your insurance company on the cost of the job.

* Trust Your Insurance To Adjust Damages, But Not To Pick A Roofer. Some insurance companies keep lists of preferred contractors. They push those contractors to their policy-holders and often take kick-backs for the referrals. The law does not restrict your right to shop multiple contractors, regardless of any "preferred" list your insurance company may have.

* Shop Only Licensed Roofers W/Solid BBB Histories. Check first with your state contractors board's license verification service online (TN Board of Licensing Contractors, MS Board of Contractors, AR Contractors Licensing Board), then check the roofers' service histories with the Better Business Bureau.

* No More Than 1/3 Up Front. Roofers in Arkansas, Mississippi and Tennessee are prohibited by law from collecting more than a third of the job's cost up-front.

(WMC TV) - 'Door-to-door' has gone the way of the dodo bird.

It's an invasion of privacy, and it's simply not safe anymore -- for people on either side of the door.

Some roofing companies apparently didn't get the memo.

Shady and solid roofers alike are selling their services door-to-door more than ever.

Some, with great results. Some, with serious consequences.

A representative of Mid-South Recovery Service, 3290 New Getwell Rd., knocked on the door at Cornelia Johnson's Parkway Village home. She said the guy convinced her the company could replace her roof for a net insurance claim of $2,561.03, according to her claim document.

"He said, 'We could work with your insurance, and you don't have to pay,'" she said.

She filed the claim and turned the insurance check over to Mid-South Recovery Service. She said the company put a man on the roof. He installed caps on her vent hoods, spray-painted the flashing -- and left.

Neither he nor anyone from Mid-South Recovery Service ever came back.

But the leaks did.

"You can see all the circles on the ceiling, where it's leaking from the attic," she said. "They did us a raw deal on this."

The rawest roofer deal The Action News 5 Investigators ever tackled was the shady door-to-door scare tactics of the now defunct American Shingle. A day before one of its solicitors was scheduled to visit a Bartlett, TN, homeowner, we had the house inspected by a reputable roofer.

American Shingle's solicitor flat lied about wind and hail damage to the roof, which our expert confirmed had no storm damage at all (for that Investigators report, please click here).

Despite the shenanigans of American Shingle, roofers are soliciting door-to-door even more frequently, including roofers with the best of reputations.

The Better Business Bureau doesn't have a problem with it.

"It is not illegal. I'm not even sure if it is unethical," said Randy Hutchinson, president of The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South. "Ultimately, the insurance company is going to make the decision to pay for a new roof or not. If the insurance company is OK, and everything else is above board, then we don't see a problem."

Independent insurance agent Bennita Wade does see a problem with door-to-door roofers.

"My problem is when they pressure people to sign contracts on the spot," Wade said. "You sign that contract, you lose your right to choose your own contractor and you lose all recourse. You guarantee them the right to come out and rob you.

"They are doing everything in their power to get as much of your insurance dollars as they possibly can to put into their pockets."

ProShot Roofing (TN License #7475, MS License #R17255, BBB Rating A-) is a highly-rated roofer with a long reference list of happy customers like Michele Peeks of Olive Branch.

Peeks hired ProShot Roofing to replace her roof -- covered by her insurance minus deductible -- after the company solicited her door-to-door.

"I love my roof," she said as she showed it off. "I had no problem with the door-to-door solicitation because I would never know if there was damage on my roof. I don't go up there!"

"We just feel like when we can get in front of a homeowner face-to-face, we can really explain the whole insurance process," said ProShot Roofing partner Casey Stein.

When I asked Stein if ProShot Roofing requires a consumer to sign a contract at the point of solicitation, he answered, "We give them the option to sign a contract. We don't want to force anybody into doing something that they don't want to do."

The Action News 5 Investigators paid a visit to Cornelia Johnson's roofer, Mid-South Recovery Service.

It appears the roofing company left its landlord in the same situation it left Johnson. 

"He skipped out on us," said landlord Jerry Razer. "I wish he paid us what he owes us."

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