ELYRIA, Ohio - Lorraine Emery loves her Elyria home of more than 40 years.
All the house really needs is a new roof. When All American Restoration of Avon Lake came to her door in April, it seemed like the perfect time to get the job done.
Emery told NewsChannel5 she paid All American Restoration owner Mark Walker nearly $2,000 and Walker promised to get the job started in just a few days.
But days turned into weeks, without results. Emery reported she made numerous phone calls to the company, but was given a series excuses.
"That made me angry, and it's like I don't think I can trust him anymore," Emery said. "We just talked a long time, and we're always joking around and everything, and I did tell him I would take his car."
Unfortunately, Emery was not given a contract after she signed over the check issued by her insurance company for roof damage.
"I know I made some mistakes here, but he should honor his promises," Emery said. "Now I don't want him here on my property, I just want a refund."
The Cleveland Better Business Bureau reports this isn't the only case against All American Restoration. Cleveland BBB Vice President Sue McConnell told NewsChannel5 the company has produced several consumer complaints in the past year.
The company has and "F" rating on the BBB website for cashing insurance checks and not performing the work it promised to consumers.
McConnell warned homeowners to be careful when considering a contractors who comes to their door looking for work.
"It's better to be proactive in choosing your contractor rather than reactive to someone that comes to your door following a storm," McConnell said.
"If somebody comes out following a storm, and they want to go up on your roof to inspect your roof, make sure you're home and watch them do it. Unethical contractors have been known to damage the roof in hopes of getting an insurance job."
NewsChannel5 contacted All American Restoration owner Mark walker and he responded immediately.
Walker told NewsChannel5 he's sorry for the delays in performing several roofing jobs and claims thousands in company assets are tied-up in a major improvement project that remains unpaid to his company.
Walker promised to perform all work or issue refunds to all consumers as soon as he's paid some $40,000 owed to him by another client. It's a case Walker claims may be heading to court and could take several weeks to unravel.
Meanwhile the BBB issued the following advice to homeowners when researching contractors who canvas neighborhoods following a storm:
- Immediately contact your insurance carrier if you believe your property has been damaged.
- Do not allow a contractor to inspect your property when you are not home.
- Do not give a contractor Power of Attorney or permit them to negotiate or settle your insurance claim.
- Do not pay in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished.
- Many municipalities require a solicitation permit if sales people go door-to-door. Verify that they need to have a permit by contacting your local Township or Municipality. BBB suggests consumers be pro-active in selecting a contractor and not re-active to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches.
- While most roofing contractors abide by the law, be careful allowing someone you do not know inspect your roof. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work.
- Try to get at least 3-4 quotes from contractors, and insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual.
- Do not pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront.
- Resist high-pressure sales tactics such as the "good deal" you'll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.
- Get a written contract that specifies the price, the work to be done, the amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor, and a time frame for completion. Require a copy of their current certificate of insurance.
- Pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there's a problem.
- Check that the contractor's vehicle has signs or markings on it with the business name, phone number and license plates for your state.
NewsChannel5 and newsnet5.com will continue to follow-up on this developing story.