Wake County Roofer Banned from Taking Money up Front
A roofer that went door-to-door looking for business in neighborhoods hit by storms is now under court order to stop taking money upfront, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper announced today.
"Storm chasers follow bad weather and try to pressure homeowners to sign a contract for repairs right away," Cooper said. "But once they've gotten paid, they often take off with your money and never finish the job."
Wake County Superior Court Judge Donald Stephens granted Cooper's request to halt Brian Smith and his companies Eagle Roofing and Restoration and GBS Roofing from taking any upfront money for roofing work in North Carolina. The defendants have also been ordered to appear in court on May 5 to show why roofing work they were contracted to perform has not been completed.
Cooper filed the lawsuit and request for a temporary restraining order after 14 consumers complained that Smith's companies took payments but never completed roofing work. He is also seeking a permanent ban against Smith's practice of taking advance payments for roofing work, civil penalties and refunds for customers.
Eagle Roofing and Restoration, formerly known as GBS Roofing, is currently based in Apex, NC. Previously, GBS operated in Sanford and Wilmington.
As alleged in the complaint, Smith regularly had his employees and sales agents travel to neighborhoods hit by storms and approach homeowners to tell them their roofs may have suffered damage. The roofers would tell homeowners that they could fix their roofs and get their insurance to cover the costs.
Cooper contends that once a homeowner signed a contract, the roofers negotiated with the insurance company about payment. As soon as a homeowner received a check from their insurer, Smith's roofers would get them to pay half of the cost of the repairs upfront. The roofers then did little or no work to fix the roof.
Multiple victims who filed affidavits in support of the lawsuit have lost $3,000 or more. One victim from Wilmington paid $5,000 to Smith, who never returned to perform the work and would not respond to calls. Other victims include homeowners from Wilmington, Fayetteville and Holly Springs.
North Carolina law gives consumers three days to cancel most door-to-door purchases and requires businesses to notify consumers about their right to cancel. Under North Carolina law, consumers can only waive their right to cancel in certain situations, such as an emergency.
The complaint alleges Smith and his representatives did not tell consumers about their right to cancel in the three-day period. Additionally, contracts depended upon the homeowner's insurance approving payment, which often takes several days more than the cancellation period.
"Don't get talked into making a quick decision on home repairs, and never agree to pay for work upfront, even if they claim your insurance will cover the cost," Cooper said. "Do your homework to find a reputable contractor, and don't pay until you're satisfied the job is done."
To check out a home repair company or file a complaint against one, North Carolina consumers can call contact the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.