Storm damage means at least 25,000 homeowners in Colorado Springs and El Paso County are getting new roofs.
Insurance companies are handling most of the claims, but some folks are running into problems with their roofers. More in this Call for Action Investigation.
Melissa Finn has a new roof, but the owner of this Colorado Springs home isn't satisfied. Finn says the work hasn't passed inspection and calls to the roofer to fix it have been ignored.
Melissa says, "Of course, they got our money upfront. That was part of the contract, but it's been horrible; a complete runaround."
Melissa says she hired Greenlife Exteriors of Franktown, Colorado when the company came door knocking, looking for business after a storm.
Greenlife called her insurance company and made arrangements for her to get a new, $6,000 roof.
But Melissa says it went downhill from there with roofers not starting the job for three months and then stopping and refusing to finish because Greenlife hadn't paid them.
Melissa says she was asked to pay the workers close to $1,300 and Greenlife would pay her back, so she did.
But she hasn't been repaid.
And her roof?
Melissa says, "They didn't put up flashing ... so all the water, it runs down our roof, but runs in between the gutters and that can do damage. It's just been a nightmare."
11 News has learned the dumpster company which was picking up her old shingles hasn't been paid either. Bob's of Colorado says it's owed close to $1,500.
Melissa says she felt comfortable using Greenlife because it had an A rating from the Denver Better Business Bureau. But now, because of numerous complaints, that rating is down to an F.
After a phone call from Melissa and several other Colorado Springs homeowners, our 11 Call for Action Team has been trying to speak with the couple running Greenlife, but they're not returning our calls.
11 News has learned the Douglas County Sheriff's Office is investigating Bill Bowen, who's listed on the website as Greenlife's founder, for theft and not completing work.
I've also been told Bowen spent close to four years in prison in Virginia after being convicted for conspiracy and mail fraud and was on supervised release when he started racking up complaints here in Colorado.
The woman listed as Greenlife's president and owner, Tina Vogelgesang, is accused of running off with more than $37,000 she borrowed from someone in Florida and never paid back.
Right now, the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department has frozen Greenlife's license. That means the company can't work in El Paso County and Colorado Springs while the department investigates.
Melissa says, "I just want it to be finished. And it still isn't."
The Pikes Peak Regional Building Department is holding a hearing about Greenlife Exteriors, which is open to the public.
Homeowners impacted by the roofer will be allowed to voice their concerns at a meeting at PPRBD on Wednesday, October 6th at 9 a.m.
We can all learn from Melissa's experience. In fact, there are several things homeowners should do when hiring contractors for major work, like roofing.
- Check with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (PPRBD) or go online to www.pprbd.org to see if a contractor is licensed to work here.
PPRBD regulates building codes and requires that contractors who work in El Paso County and Colorado Springs are licensed with its office. Contractors also must prove they have liability insurance and Worker's Compensation. Liability insurance will protect you if a worker is injured on your property.
The department also does a Colorado background check. It takes steps to ensure it doesn't license a contractor with a felony record. Inspectors don't regulate contracts or get in the middle of homeowner-contractor disputes, so it's important to do your homework first, before hiring a company.
- Check with PPRBD to see if a contractor has pulled a permit to do work on your home.
The PPRBD website is an important resource that lists permit information and more. Inspectors can tell you over the phone or you can check online to see if a contractor has taken that first step and pulled a permit. That's important because you'll need proof that the work has passed inspection, if you ever try to sell your home.
- Always get a couple of bids fom companies you select... not those who simply knock on your door. Fly-by-nighters won't be around for long, so it's important to deal with a company who can make follow up visits if needed.
Be careful signing a contract until you've read it first. Some companies may charge you a fee if you sign a contract and later change your mind.
- Don't be afraid to ask for references and check them out. The Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado is another ally. Its' workers can check a company over the phone for you and its' website lists complaints against companies.
- Never pay in full until the work's passed inspection.
The El Paso County Roofing Contractor's Association, www.elpasoroofingassociation.com is another place to turn for help. It polices its own members and its website is informative about roofing materials and contractors.
- When a contractor has completed work on your home, ask for a mechanic's lien release. Most contractors I talk to say they'll be happy to supply a conditional release which helps ensure there are no outstanding claims against your property.
Pikes Peak Regional Building Department (719) 327-2880
El Paso County Roofing Contractors Assn (719) 633-2998
Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado (719) 636-5076