Consumer Alert: Hiring a contractor
GLENOLDEN, Pa. - April 30, 2012 (WPVI) -- Two families were left homeless for months after a roofer's alleged negligence caused major flooding in their home. Action News consumer reporter Nydia Han has been on the case and got results. It's an important lesson everyone should know before hiring a contractor.
Two days before Christmas the Schoen's house flooded.
"Oh my God, it was like somebody stuck a hose through corners of the room and it was just coming in. It was awful," said Alicia Shoen of Glenolden, Delaware County.
The damage left the Schoens and their tenants homeless for more than two months and destroyed most of their possessions.
Bob Worrell is the Schoens renter and lives upstairs with his family of five, including his four-month-old grandbaby.
"I mean the loss of all the stuff that we had and there's stuff that can't be replaced, of course," Worrell explained.
These consumers blamed all this on negligence by a roofing contractor.
"Basically they stripped the whole roof, got half of it done, at the end of the day packed up and left without covering the other half that wasn't completed," Worrell said.
Then the rain came.
The Schoens contract was with WB Griffies, a company that solicited the Schoen's at their home.
"And they said it would be absolutely no cost to me including the deductible, that they would cover that," said Steve Schoen.
But when it came to doing the work, WB Griffies subcontracted the job to another company, then that company gave the job to a third company.
The Schoens said they didn't know about any of the subcontractors until it was too late.
"The owner, WB Griffies, he never called. You know 'not I'm really sorry', 'is there anything I can do', you think he would have come down to assess the damage, anything, nothing, not a word," Shoen said.
Most of the Schoens losses were covered by their own insurance company. But Worrell said his renter's insurance won't cover his 10-thousand-dollar loss and it appears the sub-sub-contractor has no coverage!
Worrell got so desperate for help he went to the business address for WB Griffies which turned out to be the owner, Wayne Griffies', home.
"I said I feel that you're responsible for it. He said I have no responsibility toward you and I'm not helping you out ," Worrell said.
Action News also tried to talk to Wayne Griffies but he didn't want to comment. Instead his lawyer, Greg Gifford, spoke.
"This was a pure case of negligence where they did not properly cover the roof," he said.
He said Wayne Griffies had no idea the sub he had hired had given the job to someone else.
Gifford promised WB Griffies would make sure the Schoens and the Worrells are reimbursed for all their out-of-pocket expenses.
Wayne Griffies has also agreed to replace the roof the subcontractors put on.
Action News asked Gifford what Wayne Griffies would say to the Schoens and Worrells today.
"He's very sorry. He honestly believed this was being taken care of by his sub, the sub he hired," he said.
Gifford also said to alleviate future problems Wayne Griffies will now make sure homeowners are introduced to any subcontractors he uses. The company will also provide the homeowner with the subcontractor's certificate of insurance.
Anytime you hire a contractor ask for a list of any and all subcontractors that will be used and also ask to see those contractors' licenses and insurance.
special reports, nydia han
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