Knoxville woman regrets choosing roofing contractor

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A home is the largest investment most people make and some home improvement projects can be expensive.

Since most roofs only need major attention every 20 or 25 years, roofers aren’t people you work with every day. So, when it comes to deciding who to hire to re-roof your home, you’ll need to take careful consideration.

Velma, an 85-year-old widow, said believes she paid too much for the contractor that worked on her roof. Doug Harrie, a contractor and friend of Velma, said she was charged $9,000 for the roof and plywood underneath it. Already, the roof is leaking near the chimney.

“It appears they didn’t fix the old flashing. They just ripped up and made it worse,” said Harrie.

Velma said because of the lack or rain, she didn’t notice the leaky roof until late November. In late July, she said two men came to her house unannounced and said her home needed work.

Receipts show the construction crew came to her house five times from July through September. Velma said they’d finish one job then return a few weeks later saying more work was needed.

“My age is what I think attracted them as far as me having money. They could take advantage of an older person,” said Velma.

Velma talks with WATE 6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Don Dare about issues with her roof.

The contractors she hired are Wayne Wickings and Ron Bowen of RW Home Improvements. In spring of 2016, Scott McGill, a church deacon in Blount County, contacted WATE 6 On Your Side about one of his parishioners who also used RW Home Improvements.

The home was owned by a 98-year-old woman named Opal. Invoices from RW Home Improvements show Opal paid nearly $15,000 for new shingles, plywood and gutters, fascia and soffit. McGill said he became concerned when he noticed the new shingles installed by RW Home Improvements falling off the roof.

Previous story: Blount County neighbors notice problems with woman’s new roof

Opal speaks with WATE 6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator Don Dare in May 2016

WATE 6 On Your Side called Bowen and asked about the problems with Opal’s roof. He blamed the roofing subcontractors saying he was unaware of the workmanship when he picked up his check. Within days, a crew replaced the roof and made other repairs.

At Velma’s home, WATE 6 On Your Side called RW Home Improvements again. On the phone, Bowen said there wasn’t anything wrong with the flashing on her home. He said his crew worked hard and did an “excellent job.” He also said the $18,000 he charged for the roof, gutters, fascia and other small jobs was reasonable.

Velma said she never knew what they were charging her until she was handed the bills once the work was done. But Bowen said Velma approved each job, knew what she was doing and he can account for every penny charged.

Still, Velma said she was never given an official-looking contract. She said there is no description of what was bought, how much was purchased and no information about a warranty.

“I need to be given back what I overpaid them,” said Velma. RW Home Improvements said they “did nothing wrong” and they treated Velma “fairly.”

There are many excellent roofing contractors in East Tennessee, but hiring the right one may seem like a daunting task since roofers aren’t people you work with every day. The professional ones, who are licensed by the state contractor’s board will spend time with you going over in detail what they propose within budget.

Their contracts also include information about what they’re buying and how much. They also include a guarantee.

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