6 Investigates: Local Roofing Company After Ice Storm - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

6 Investigates: Local Roofing Company After Ice Storm

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Augusta, GA - Several homeowners are complaining about a local roofing company. They say they paid the company money to fix their roofs after the ice storm, but the work still hasn't been completed yet.

At least 4 homeowners say they gave thousands to Hughes Roofing Company for repairs. They say the owner never completed the job, so now they are warning others.

"We should have known better. We never put money down for anything," Columbia County Homeowner Connie Bowles said.

Bowles says she was scammed out of $4,500 by Hughes Roofing Company. She says after the ice storm hit, the owner of the company, Sean Hughes, told her he could fix her roof for about $9,000. After signing a contract in March, she handed him over half the money.

"He came May 5th by himself and took off several rows of shingles and then left after 4 hours," Bowles said.

There are still blue tarps on Bowles' roof. Bowles says the owner keeps making excuses about finishing the job.

"He said the weather was too cold, and then too warm, and then there was a 30% chance of rain, so he couldn't come out," Bowles said.

She finally demanded a refund and when Hughes responded, she couldn't believe what he said.

"He told me to stop hounding him. He said to leave him alone and then he sent a message that said, now back off," Bowles said.

After months of fighting with him, Bowles found out that she isn't the only one who is having problems with Hughes.

"I'm aggravated. I'm frustrated," Richmond County Homeowner Kathy Wiggins said.

Wiggins says she paid the company $1,200 to fix the paint spots on her roof. She says that was in February and currently, the spots are still there.

"He didn't complete the job. I don't know whether he thought he could, but he convinced us he could," Wiggins said.

Wiggins says she also asked for a refund, but has yet to get her money back. So we went to speak with Hughes about the complaints at his address in Wrens, GA. Unfortunately, nobody was home.

Wiggins and Bowles have filed complaints with authorities, but right now, they just want to warn others.

"I don't want other people to suffer the same situation that we and other people we know of have suffered through this company by losing their money," Wiggins said.

"Ideally, in a perfect world we could get our money back, but that is doubtful. We just don't want this to happen to anybody else," Bowles said.

There are several other homeowners who have also had problems with Hughes Roofing. All of them are waiting on court cases to see if this is a civil or criminal matter.

If you need roof repairs, there are some ways to make sure you don't get scammed:

*Get more than one estimate. Preferably, get three estimates before making a decision. Don't be pressured into signing a contract right away. Do not make a decision at your doorstep. Visit www.findacompany.org to find and request quotes from BBB Accredited roofers.
*Know that anything you sign--no matter what you are told--can be considered a binding contract so read very carefully before signing anything.
*Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedule, guarantees, payment schedule and other expectations should be detailed.**
*Ask for references and check them out.
*Never sign a contract with blanks. Unscrupulous contractors may enter unacceptable terms later.
*Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is truly completed. Do not give a down payment unless special materials are being ordered, and even then you may consider writing the check directly to the roofer's supplier.
*Insurance coverage may be rendered void if intentional misrepresentation by a policyholder is discovered.
*A catastrophe greatly magnifies the opportunity for insurance fraud and abuse. Don't be tempted to conspire in an insurance claim. Insurance fraud is a felony.
*Beware of warranties offered from companies who are based out of state; question how the services will be honored.
*Find out if the company uses their own workers or if they hire individual, third-party sub-contractors. It is very important to know exactly WHO will be working on your roof and who is responsible if something goes wrong.
*Verify applicable licensing and permits with your city and county. Do not secure the permit on your own, and make sure the permit is posted before the work begins.
*Check out the company with the Colorado Secretary of State. This will tell you if they are registered with the state and when they were incorporated. This ensures that the company has a presence in Colorado. - See more at: http://www.bbb.org/denver/business-reviews/roofing-contractors/industry-tips/roofing-contractors#sthash.aaJYMZr1.dpuf
- Get references from company and do your research. There are plenty of websites out there, like the Better Business Bureau, that have customer reviews.
- Be wary of contractors offering to pay insurance deductibles.
- Get an estimate from at least 3 companies. That way you can compare the costs.
- Don't pay with cash and don't pay down payments that are more than $1,000. Scammers may take the money and run.
- Work with licensed roofing contractors.
- Be careful about working with contractors who go door-to-door looking for damaged roofs.

*Get more than one estimate. Preferably, get three estimates before making a decision. Don't be pressured into signing a contract right away. Do not make a decision at your doorstep. Visit www.findacompany.org to find and request quotes from BBB Accredited roofers.
*Know that anything you sign--no matter what you are told--can be considered a binding contract so read very carefully before signing anything.
*Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedule, guarantees, payment schedule and other expectations should be detailed.**
*Ask for references and check them out.
*Never sign a contract with blanks. Unscrupulous contractors may enter unacceptable terms later.
*Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is truly completed. Do not give a down payment unless special materials are being ordered, and even then you may consider writing the check directly to the roofer's supplier.
*Insurance coverage may be rendered void if intentional misrepresentation by a policyholder is discovered.
*A catastrophe greatly magnifies the opportunity for insurance fraud and abuse. Don't be tempted to conspire in an insurance claim. Insurance fraud is a felony.
*Beware of warranties offered from companies who are based out of state; question how the services will be honored.
*Find out if the company uses their own workers or if they hire individual, third-party sub-contractors. It is very important to know exactly WHO will be working on your roof and who is responsible if something goes wrong.
*Verify applicable licensing and permits with your city and county. Do not secure the permit on your own, and make sure the permit is posted before the work begins.
*Check out the company with the Colorado Secretary of State. This will tell you if they are registered with the state and when they were incorporated. This ensures that the company has a presence in Colorado. - See more at: http://www.bbb.org/denver/business-reviews/roofing-contractors/industry-tips/roofing-contractors#sthash.AAqwmPVg.dpuf
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