Roofing company overcharges elderly woman for new roof

Roofing company overcharges elderly woman for new roof

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"The sheeting and the roof was $11,000, but he didn't explain that to me in the beginning," Mary said. "The sheeting and the roof was $11,000, but he didn't explain that to me in the beginning," Mary said.
In the middle of November, Bowles had Mary sign three contracts, all on the same day. In the middle of November, Bowles had Mary sign three contracts, all on the same day.
One of the three proposals is for a roof and screened in deck, costing nearly $12,000. But Mary didn't get a new porch. One of the three proposals is for a roof and screened in deck, costing nearly $12,000. But Mary didn't get a new porch.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - Roofing companies have been busy since the spring storms of 2011 in East Tennessee.

Some people, however, are just getting around to making repairs, and if you live alone, having to make decisions might not be easy.  

Last November, for the first time since her husband passed away, making a decision about her roof was Mary's alone. She asked that we not use her last name.

"The roof looks great," said Mary. "All except the price."

The cost of a new roof on her modestly-sized house is staggering.

She paid $11,000 for a new roof on her 1,400 to 1,500 square foot home.

The contractor is B and E Roofing and Home Improvement in Luttrell, Tennessee.

Mary says the owner, Mike Bowles, did work for her before when her husband was alive. She trusted him.

In the middle of November, Bowles had Mary sign three contracts, all on the same day.

"He asked me to sign all three so he wouldn't have to make a trip back out," she said.

Mary wanted a back porch built. She showed B and E Roofing a few designs.

One of the three proposals is for a roof and screened in deck, costing nearly $12,000. But Mary didn't get a new porch.

Another one of the contracts says "remove and apply new shingles," at a cost of $5,364.

The third contract says install 83 sheets of OSB, a type of plywood sheeting. She was told the old sheeting was bad.

"He said that the house needed new sheeting on it, that it was spongy," she said.

Those 83 sheets of plywood cost Mary $60 per sheet, for a total of $5,000.

At Lowe's, the cost of the same plywood is $13.49 a sheet. That's retail, but contractors can buy it even cheaper.

Yet Mary paid $60 per piece, plus installation. She now realizes B and E Roofing should have combined two of the contracts.

"The sheeting and the roof was $11,000, but he didn't explain that to me in the beginning," she said.

Bill Schall, a retired investment executive and serves on the Council on Aging, says its very unusual for someone to sign three contracts all at once.

He says no one should be required to sign multiple contracts for a single job. He understands what apparently happened to Mary.

"An 86-year-old, no matter the gender, is not going to climb up on a roof to find what the condition of the roof is. From each contractor, there should be one contract and it should show all the obligations," Schall said.

Mike Bowles from B and E Roofing tells 6 on your Side he did not cheat Mary.

He said she knew about the different contracts and said no one could build a deck and install a roof for just $12,000 dollars.

Mary has lodged a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and the contractor wants the BBB to settle their dispute through arbitration.

Once it's received, Bowles will have two weeks to respond to the complaint and then a date will be set up for arbitration.


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

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