Watch out for door-to-door ‘roofers’

Published 12:06 pm Saturday, April 25, 2015

Editor’s Note: This article has been altered from its original version. Hunt Story is the Town Sergeant for Courtland.

At the end of the day, a Courtland woman is out a few hundred dollars, but it could have been a lot worse.

It all started with a recent knock on Jacqueline Drake’s door. There were a pair of guys who were offering to clean her gutters for $30. Drake said they looked like they could use the money, so she decided to help them out.

And thus, her nightmare began. The pair said there was damage, and that for $100, they could fix it. Drake was suspicious, as the roof was only three years old, but perhaps there was some shoddy work.

When they later returned to her Shands area home, she noticed that they were tearing away a lot of shingles and boards from the roof. Worried that this was going to be more than $100, she repeatedly asked them how much it was going to cost.

After tearing away more boards, one of them eventually quoted her $750.

“No way in the world,” she told them. “I wouldn’t pay, so they packed up and left… not putting my house back like it was.”

Drake called her brother, and he came over and got a neighbor, who looked at the roof and gave her some bad news. Her roof did not have any damage, except in a few spots where it looked like someone actively broke some boards.

With that news, she called the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office. Sgt. Hunt Story with the town of Courtland police was on duty and visited. After she told him what happened, he recommended that she get the so-called roofers back to town.

“I called them back saying I couldn’t find anyone to do the work and would pay them,” Drake said. “Two hours later, they showed up.”

She went to call Story, who had been parked at the 7-Eleven and saw them drive by. He pulled them over in front of her home. This time, she asked to see their business license, which was with their boss in Suffolk.

The shingles and facing from Drake’s roof that the workers had not already used elsewhere were reinstalled. But they did a poor job, and she’ll be out for having to pay someone to paint, put the gutters back up and other miscellaneous work. That’s on top of the $30 she was out for the “cleaning.”

However, without Story’s involvement, she said she would have had to pay even more for someone to do all that work, or worse, pay the men the $750 and who knows what else.

“A big thank you to Hunt Story,” Drake said.

Maj. Gene Drewery, spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said this was the only recent incident of this type, but that it is something that happens on a regular basis.

“People should always request a written contract with details of what work is to be completed,” he said. “People should also be wary of individuals coming up to their residence looking to make repairs. Most reliable contractors have work already scheduled.

“Bottom line, if sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”