(KTVI)– Some homeowners signed contracts with Countrywide Shingle and Siding between spring and fall 2011. Full and partial payments were made but nothing’s been done. The estimated cost of repairs ranged from thirty eight hundred dollars to seventy seven hundred dollars. In some cases people signed over insurance claim checks to the contractor. They tell Contact 2 the checks were cashed a few days later.
David Penick of South St. Louis says he couldn`t get a straight answer on when work would begin. ‘They kept telling us we`ll be there in two weeks or we`ll be there in four to six weeks. Then four to six weeks again. Then two weeks, then two weeks or whatever
From August to October they`re waiting for work crews. Calling and waiting. The story was similar for Haily Nguyen. The twenty year old Vietnamese American lives in this house with her parents and two brothers. A Countrywide Shingle and Siding salesman was going door to door in her neighborhood last July. Haily says Her father was home at the time.
‘He talked a little bit with my father but my father doesn`t understand a lot of English. I got on the phone with a guy named Steven. And we talk a little about the free inspection. And also he would take care of everything with the insurance company.’
Both the Nguyens and the Penicks turned over their full insurance claim check to Countrywide Shingle and Siding. The Penick`s check was for thirty eight hundred and the Nguyens was seventy seven hundred. A form included with the contract gives Countrywide Shingle and Siding permission to take the entire check. First time homeowners and the elderly may not understand how risky that can be. Sara Penick understands that now. ‘The roofing company did ask for that check. The insurance company did not advise us one way or another on what to do with the money or how to handle the financial aspect of it.’
By January 2012 Jack Jones, owner, sent a letter to homeowners telling them he`s out of business and he`s looking for another roofing company to fill his orders. Haily says the Colorado businessman tried to stress bad weather was down the road. ‘He told us to wait, because it`s not going to be a factor till spring 2012. So we still waiting but I don`t think we have any hope left.’
In his letter Jones talked about filing bankruptcy. But Jones himself told me he didn`t file. This was during a phone conversation this week. He did not want to be recorded on the advice of his attorneys but he did say an accounting error caused the company`s books to look better than they actually were. This presented challenges for staff trying to balance expenditures against collections. There wasn`t enough money to keep the company going. That`s tough to hear according to Haily. ‘I`m upset. Its not just about the money anymore, its like humanity. I`m really depressing to wait on the phone. There`s just no answer.’
If you have a contract with Countrywide Shingle and Siding, and you`re still waiting for repairs you should file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, The Missouri Attorney General and the Colorado Attorney General.
Consumers really should not hire contractors soliciting business door to door. You want to get 3 to 5 bids on a big job. And be sure the company is licensed and bonded in your state. Another red flag in this case was the out of town headquarters for this company. And by no means should you sign anything that forces you to turn over the entire insurance claim check. You pay contractors in installments. And lastly, call the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney`s General`s office to see if there are complaints on file against a particular company.. Countrywide Shingle and Siding started out a couple of years ago with an A grade from The Better Business Bureau. Now its an You`ll find links below. Let us know if you have a consumer issue. Call Mon through Friday. 11am till 1pm, the number is 800 782-2222.
BETTER BUSINESS BUREAU
MISSOURI ATTORNEY GENERAL`S OFFICE
COLORADO ATTORNEY GENERAL`S OFFICE