Aurora police: Roofing company scamming clients out of thousands of dollars

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DENVER -- On Friday, The FOX31 Denver Problem Solvers learned that the Aurora Police Department is warning residents about a roofing company they say is scamming clients out of thousands of dollars.

The owner of Martinez Construction is accused of taking money and not finishing the job.

Paul Neuschwanger contacted police after he says he was ripped off by the company.

Neuschwanger says his roof was damaged in a hail storm last summer. He hired a contractor to fix it after he was approached one day by a roofing company’s worker outside his home.

“He said he was with Martinez construction, big roofing company, and talked it up pretty good,” Neuschwanger explained.

Days later he says he filed an insurance claim and signed a contract.

Then, he says Martinez construction asked for the money upfront.

“Your contract says money is due at the end of the job? ‘Well, yeah, but we can get your materials a faster if you give us money down,’” he recalls the company employee saying.

Neuschwanger says hecut Martinez Construction a $4500 check which was half the total cost of the job. He says the check was cashed on Sept. 3, 2015, and was promised the job would be done before the end of the month.

When that didn’t happen he says the excuses started rolling in.

"'Sorry, I was out of town on a business trip.' Another week goes by, 'Well, you're next I’m sorry,” Neuschwanger recalls the owner saying.

Eleven months later, he says his roof is still damaged and he is out the $4,500 he paid.

Neuschwanger hired a lawyer and says he sent Martinez Construction a letter of demand requesting his money back. He says that got him nowhere.

Feeling like this was a scam from the start, he went to Aurora police who confirm there is an investigation into the owner of Martinez Construction . She is facing one charge of felony theft.

The problem solvers tried reaching out to the Martinez Construction but had not heard back as of Friday night.

Meanwhile, Neuschwanger is starting to accept he won’t ever see the money again.

But he hopes others can will learn from his story.

“Everybody in town gets to see this and maybe that will help them avoid them getting into their back pockets,” he added.

The Better Business Bureau lists these recommendations to avoid becoming the victim of a roofing scam:

When hiring a Roofing Contractor:

  • Don’t sign over your insurance check.  Deposit the check and pay the contractor per the contract terms.
  • Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts if temporary roofing repairs are necessary.
  • Require a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. Be sure their name, address, license number and phone number are included in the contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety, and don’t sign a blank contract. A copy of the signed contract is to be given to you at time of signature.
  • Don't be pressured into making an immediate decision.  Be pro-active in selecting a business and not re-active to sales solicitations.
  • Shop around and get 3-4 estimates based on the same specifications and materials. Verify that businesses are required to be licensed/registered to do work in your area and check with your local building inspector to see if a building permit is required.
  • Be wary of door-to-door sales people who do not have a permanent place of business.

The Agreement should include:

  • The type of roof covering, manufacturer and color
  • Materials to be included in the work
  • Scope of work to be done
    • Removal or replacement of existing roof
    • Flashing work
    • Ventilation work
  • Installation method
  • Approximate starting and completion dates
  • Payment procedures.  Contractors can not ask for money upfront except for materials. Once materials are delivered, call the supply company to see if the contractor paid for the supplies.
  • Length of warranty and what is covered
  • Who will haul away the old roofing materials and/or project waste? Is there extra charge for this service?
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