Door-to-door contractors target unsuspecting seniors

Door-to-door contractors target unsuspecting seniors

Posted:
"The only thing he actually did was nail some nails in that gutter because it was swayed down in the middle. And it wasn't good drainage," homeowner Ralph Holder said. "The only thing he actually did was nail some nails in that gutter because it was swayed down in the middle. And it wasn't good drainage," homeowner Ralph Holder said.
Holder says the repairmen put three or four nails into the gutters. Holder says the repairmen put three or four nails into the gutters.
They moved to the back of his yard where they painted the top of this carport. They moved to the back of his yard where they painted the top of this carport.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Our first story in a series about seniors and the issues they face focuses on traveling sales crews.

Traveling repair crews target the elderly by showing up at their homes and talking them into paying for work.

When Ralph Holder went to get his mail recently, a man in a pick-up truck drove by and started talking.

"He said, 'How you getting along?' I thought he was asking information for where someone lived or something," Holder recalled.

The man told Holder he was a contractor and noticed the gutters on his house needed some repairs, so Holder agreed to the job.

"Three of them piled up out here," he said. "They had a Georgia license tag on the truck. It was a white truck with a generator in the back end of it."

It wasn't until after the work was finished that Holder noticed not much had been done.

"The only thing he actually did was nail some nails in that gutter because it was swayed down in the middle. And it wasn't good drainage," Holder said.

Holder says after the repairmen finished putting three or four nails into the gutters, they moved to the back of his yard where they painted the top of his carport opening.

"He said he had a gallon of paint left over from a job he had. I said, 'I can't afford a lot.' He said, 'I'll put it on there for $40.'"

The contractor was Four Seasons Painting and Coating and the man who signed the papers was Pierre Sherlock.

That coating of paint put on the garage roof was not $40. The bill listed the price as $55.

Even worse was the entire cost of repairing the gutter and smearing some paint on the roof.  

"The total price he charged me? He was here for one hour and twenty minutes, it was $1100," Holder said.

But he held his ground and says he got Sherlock down to $500.

"I really know that I was really ripped off," he said. "I didn't think I was that big of a fool to be took like that,"

Legal Aid Attorney Deborah Herzel, who is on the East Tennessee Elder Watch Committee, says Holder's story is familiar since door-to-door contractors take advantage of seniors.

"They want to be paid up front, they give you a great deal, but you have to act quickly or you're going to miss out," she said.

Herzel says seniors should question why the contractor is at the house and beware of door-to-door contractors.

Ask if they have references and demand to see their license and insurance.

"They need to be aware of their defense. Learn how to say no. Learn how to say no," he said.

"I hope that nobody hires nobody from nowhere except when they hire someone they can recommend to them," Holder said.

Seeking a recommendation before hiring someone is good advice for everyone to know.  

There are honest home repair contractors, but often door-to-door repair crews target seniors, and people of any age can fall for their con games and have.

If you think you are being scammed report it to your local law enforcement agency or to the office on aging in your county. 


If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at 865-633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WATE. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.