Ken Paxton

Phony contractor offers to "seal" roof

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

An Austin Senior recently contacted us to report a close call with a "painting contractor" who offered to "seal" her new roof for the cost of materials only. When the homeowner asked why the roof was not sealed by the roofer, the painter claimed that the new roof needed to "cure" first. He let on that he had some connection with the roofing company. He performed the work the next day (or so he said) in the homeowner's absence with a crew of six men in the rain. He then presented a bill for $2400.

Fortunately, the consumer had the presence of mind to demand a "properly made out bill," which the painter could not produce. When questioned more closely, the painter admitted that he had no connection with the roofing company. Faced with increasing suspicion, the painter gave up and left the premises. The consumer reported the entire incident to the roofer, who said he had never heard of the painter, and who encouraged the consumer to make a report to the police and to us.

We continue to caution consumers, especially seniors, about home improvement contractors who approach them door-to-door with special offers. Check references, get everything in writing, and be skeptical of special deals that require an on-the-spot decision. We have heard from consumers who have ended up losing thousands of dollars for work they didn't really need in the first place.