ORLANDO, Fla. - Nearly a year after Hurricane Irma, a Seminole County family claims it has been badly burned by a roofer.
Action 9: Property owners and vacation renters burned by housing hustle
Part-time job scam could put victims in legal trouble
Action 9: Experts claim new home not properly built
Action 9: The surprising reason behind hurricane shutter delays, price hikes
Action 9: Man's furniture held hostage by moving company with bad reputation
Action 9 investigates exploding washing machines
The couple paid a contractor $15,000 for a new roof they never got.
Action 9 consumer investigator Todd Ulrich found other homeowners are making claims against the same company.
The leaks started days after Hurricane Irma.
“It was coming down like a waterfall,” said Lawrence Riley.
His home’s ceilings are damaged. But nearly a year later, nothing is fixed. Riley blames the contractor, Florida Roof Experts.
“We have damage inside the house that we can't get fixed until the roof gets put on,” said Riley.
After settling an insurance claim, the contractor asked them to pay in full. Instead, they wrote a check for $15,000. Since then, there hasn’t been any work done, there has not been a roof installed and there is no permit from the company.
“Two months in, we're calling calling,calling, nobody returning our calls,” said Riley.
His contract called for a finished roof in four months.
After five months, there still wasn’t a permit and the Rileys felt trapped.
“Do you want them to put that roof on now?” asked Ulrich.
“No, I've contracted with somebody else now,” replied Riley.
They canceled the first contract, then contacted Action 9 claiming Florida Roof Experts will not return their $15,000.
There are many other families now making the same claims. Some homeowners claim they paid big deposits for new roofs that were not installed.
The BBB gives Florida Roof Experts an F rating and it has 11 complaints. One owner claims he lost $11,000. Another homeowner said they paid $8,000 but never got a roof.
Ulrich went to the contractor's Ormond Beach address. There was no sign the company even has an office here.
Ulrich was able to reach company President Dan Sechriest by phone.
“Can he get his deposit back?” asked Ulrich.
“We do have a permit just issued on that,” replied Sechriest.
He claimed he just got a permit for Riley's home. When Action 9 checked with Seminole County, there was no current permit pulled by that company.
“It's been months. Isn’t that fair to give them their money back?” asked Ulrich.
“Yeah, they can get their money back if we don't have that issued,” said Sechriest.
Riley sent his complaint to state regulators.
“I want my refund back,” said Riley.
Ulrich contacted DBPR, the state agency that regulates contractors. A DPBR spokesperson told Ulrich that they're investigating five complaints where the company collected big deposits but did not get permits within 30 days. The agency is also looking into two complaints against Sechriest involving contracting without a license.
Several customers say the company wanted to take over their insurance claim and told them that was the only option and it demanded big deposits. Both are big red flags, and if you hear those demands, experts advise finding another contractor.
© 2019 Cox Media Group.