WRAL Investigates

Roofing company leaves customers high and dry

Posted August 26, 2010

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— Dozens of customers of Atlanta-based American Shingle and Siding share the same frustration: tens of thousands of dollars spent on roofs that weren't built.

Customers said that American Shingle's sales representatives go door-to-door selling the idea of a new roof paid for by insurance.

Once American Shingle got their deposit, though, customers said it was the last they saw of the company.

Alison Myers needed a new roof because hers is about 20 years old and has storm damage.

"Every time it's windy, we get a storm, I've got to pick more shingles off the ground," Myers said.

In May, an American Shingles salesman stopped by. Myers described his pitch: Let him talk to her insurance adjuster, and if he could get the company to pay for a new roof, she agrees to have American Shingle do the job.

Myers said she agreed, but was skeptical the salesman would be able to accomplish that, because when the storm damage happened, the response from her insurer wasn't encouraging.

"I thought, 'Go for it. There's no way there going to approve it,'" she said. "I was very surprised when they came out, and they did approve it."

Once she got the insurance check, Myers paid American Shingle a nearly $3,000 deposit.

Days before her appointment in August, she received a letter saying that it would be delayed. Then a week later, another letter came, stating that the company was "forced to close its doors" due to "significant financial hardship."

"I'm thinking, 'I want my $3,000 back, so I can give that to somebody else to put a roof on,'" Myers said.

Her neighbor, Kim Hemphill, paid a $400 deposit to American Shingle a few weeks ago and said she hasn't heard from the company since.

"I've e-mailed. I've left messages. I've called all three numbers on (a) brochure," Hemphill said. "I've called the gentleman that initially met with us, and I never heard back from anyone."

Myers and Hemphill are among about a dozen people who complained to WRAL's Five on Your Side. Combined, the customers claim to have given the company more than $23,000 from their insurance companies and have nothing to show for it.

Roofing company racks up complaints Roofing company racks up complaints

The North Carolina Attorney General's Office and authorities in several other states are investigating the company, which does business in 10 states.

Altogether, at least 500 complaints against American Shingle have been filed with the Better Business Bureau. Some complainants said that they checked the BBB, searched the Web and didn't see any complaints.

Officials with the North Carolina Department of Insurance said that American Shingle's practice of negotiating with the insurance companies on behalf of customers is against the law. The DOI twice ordered the company to stop.

WRAL News was unable to track down Raleigh manager Brad Hughes or American Shingle CEO Carlton Dunko. The company's Raleigh office is closed and empty.

All Myers has to show for her $3,000 is an American Shingle yard sign. She and other customers said they know it's not likely they'll see any money back.

"(I'm) completely angry about the whole thing," Myers said. "They want to reimburse their employees first and their contractors. And then people like me come in third.

"I say, 'No. Give me my money back.'"

Keep in mind that when a business swoops in like this one, it takes some time before people notice problems and complain. It's important to be skeptical about anyone who shows up at your door. Never pay large sums of money up front.

12 Comments

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  • blahblahblah Aug 31, 2010

    I would never think about buying a roof from a door-to-door salesman. A roof is a major investment, not a spur of the moment purchase like a box of girl scout cookies.

  • See Chart Aug 30, 2010

    i don't care for the better business bureau either as
    they don't really work for we poor cosumers.

  • BlessedWoman Aug 27, 2010

    My mom and dad just fell victim to this company, American Shingle got their $2500 (the first portion of payment from insco) and they were never to be heard from again. Mom had to file her complaint with the NC Attorney General's office, but they'll prob never see that 2500 again. I contacted another roofing company after checking out BBB and the roofing association, went with On Tops Roofing out of Angier...they're quote was less than American Shingle AND they got a better shingle. They were out Monday to provide a qoute and out to do the roof yesterday, we were VERY pleased with them. Mom and dad were waiting on AS since MAY. Some people are just ruthless.

  • live_the_truth Aug 27, 2010

    This company came through my neighborhood a while back. They had on uniforms, and drove a "company" vehicle. They go door-to-door telling homeowners that it appears their roof has "hail damage", and that they will negotiate with the insurance company to get insurance to cover a roof replacement. The scam is not in the process of getting your insurance agent to take a look at your roof - either the insurance company will pay or they won't. The scam comes in when you get the first insurance check for the work - then they take that check and never come back - as told in this story.

    When they came to my house, the first call I made was to my insurance company. My agent told me it was a scam. I confronted the "salesman" at my door about it, and he claimed that the insurance company would say it was a scam because they just didn't want to pay for a new roof. It took a while before I could get him to leave my porch. It was a bit ridiculous.

  • jwjohnson Aug 27, 2010

    Damage Control - I'm a roofing contractor and feel that these actions have damaged the roofing business. With the economy the way it is, everyone is looking a deal. This was a too good to be true deal. Put your trust in local, long standing companies and ask for references. I am ask all the time and it is a pleasure to share that information. I always go to a homeowner with this thought, I too am a homeowner and I want to treat people with same respect I expect when I am in need of home improvements.

  • cathysnc Aug 27, 2010

    Those of you that fell for this have to shoulder part of the blame. Even in the article it said they knew their insurance was probably not going to pay but they had the company to submit the claim anyway. There is no free ride. There is no something for nothing. Also God gave you a very good mind to use, it is up to you to apply that knowledge.

  • bennettdear Aug 27, 2010

    Seems these companies know who to pick, the people complaining about getting taken allowed this bogus company to rip off their Insurance, then the complainers have the backbone to say that they took their money. Seems to me the only ones that got ripped off where the insurance Companies. Your Insurance doesn't pay for the owners maintenance on their house. The property owers should have footed the bill in the first place. So it appears a thief stole from a thief anyway, I hope they never get their money as they don't deserve it anyway.

  • james27613 Aug 26, 2010

    Never, ever buy anything from people selling door to door.
    Never, ever pay any money up front.

    One exception, Girl Scout cookies.

    Too many scam artists out there, is the name on the truck?
    How many locksmiths, handymen, painters, carpenters, etc all knock on your door to get work done buy hide the facts that they do not have licenses, insurance, bond, etc.

    These bums give a bad rep to the honest working trades people.

  • lilluke0 Aug 26, 2010

    That is a fitting lesson for the ones that loss money here.
    How many times does the media, taploid and news papers have to tell us about these door to door scammers? I can't feel sorry for these peoples, they're as bad as some getting carjacked while making a quick stop in the store paying for a snack or something with the motor running and the doors open!!
    They us to be alert of your surroundings and of people coming to your door to sell or ask to use your phone. I guess these people were taking a nap or not paying attention.

  • ajeralddavis Aug 26, 2010

    youcanhandlethetruth: this might be funny to you, but I am in direct affect of these people, due to them scamming our church. God has a special place for them and the ones with no regard to what has happened.

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