|The blue band aid.|
Two weeks later we still had not heard anything from the contractor who was supposed to come out and give us an estimate. I called the company and the receptionist kindly took a message. Within 15 minutes, I had one of the owners on the phone who immediately dispersed a roofing crew to come to my house with a blue tarp to bandage the leaking roof. Another 30 minutes later, and the contractor, who had all ready completed the estimate on our roof, called me back. I guess he came to the house when we weren't home and took the measurements and wrote up an estimate. In the course of the conversation, he said he also noticed hail damage to our aluminum siding. He said he would gladly come out again and write up a new estimate that would include the roof and the siding. Why not; it couldn't hurt. Right?
At the beginning of June, (Yes, two months have passed.) the estimate for the roof and siding was submitted to our insurance company, who promptly sent out an adjuster to give our house and roof the once over. He measured the house and took photos of the roof and siding. He was quite personable and knowledgeable. When he finished he told me, "Yes. I'm going to approve the siding as well as the roof." He also said that he had worked with our contracting company before, and he would recommend them.
WOOT! ( I'm excited that this word is now in the dictionary.) I'm getting a new roof and siding for my 1950s home for just the price of a small deductible! How exciting is that?! Do you remember your mother saying, "If it sounds too good to be true; it probably is." Heed this advice.
The insurance company approved our claim on June 30, and we were on our way to getting our roof and siding. All we had to do was meet with the contractor and select the color for the shingles and the color for the siding and trim. No problem. He brought samples out and left them with us for a week. In that time I asked family and friends what they thought about the three selections that we finally narrowed it down to. I even posted about our color choice on Facebook.
On July 11, the contractor came to our home to fill out the paper work regarding the roof and siding color choices. We also discussed when the work would begin. He said within the next two weeks. He also measured all of our windows because we decided we should probably get them replaced before we sided the house. The contractor told us that he and his son owned a contracting business, and they would be happy to install windows for us. He claimed the company doing the work on the roof and siding didn't do windows. Warning bells should have been ringing in my ears. Maybe they were, and I wasn't listening. He collected our down payment and said he would drop off the window estimate the next day.
He dropped off the estimate for the windows, and on Friday I tried to call him to tell him we were interested in getting the windows replaced. My Mom said we couldn't beat the price. Unfortunately, my call went straight to his voice mail, and his mail box was full. Why do people let their mail boxes fill up like that? It drives me nuts. Anyway, I called the company to see if he was in the office. The receptionist kindly took a message for me and said she would have him call me on Monday.
On Monday, the receptionist from the company called me to explain that the contractor we had been dealing with was "on the run" and his son was in jail. They were both wanted for fraud in Florida amounting to 1.8 million dollars. Remember, too good to be true. The receptionist asked me if I would call the sheriff's department to give them a report. She also said she would be sending someone out on Wednesday to speak with my husband and I. She reassured me that our house would be completed and they had insurance for this very thing.
On Wednesday we were reassured that the company had fraud insurance and that the money we gave to the contractor would be covered. We were not out anything. The new contractor said the roof would be started that very weekend, July 23.
July 23 and 24 came and went with no roof in sight. Numerous phone calls later and weeks in between we were no closer to having a new roof and siding.
Finally, our town's building inspector stopped by to see what we were doing about the blue tarp that was still on our roof. He kindly listened to my tale of woe. He placed a call to the company and that very afternoon a third contractor came to our home to tell us we never signed a contract, and we were denied. In other words, we're out $7,000, and our house would not get a new roof or siding. My husband threw the man out of our house. He then called the company and spoke to the owner for an hour. He also called the adjuster, who came to our home earlier in the spring, to ask his advice.
The adjuster told us that if the company did not begin work on our home that we should call the county prosecutor and file charges of fraud. The adjuster also said he would call the company and tell them they were responsible for the work on our home because the estimate was approved by them and our insurance company. He also told them the advice he gave us.
As of yesterday, we signed an official contract, and the work on the roof will begin September 2. They will begin siding two weeks after the roof is complete. We are not out any money. The company is taking the loss.
Keep your fingers crossed and say a prayer.