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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – It’s a growing problem for homeowners in North Texas. You hire a roofer, pay them for the job and they take off.
With no rules or regulations in Texas for the roofing industry, there’s often nowhere for the consumer to go for help.
Sharon Thompson of Fort Worth had given up until she called CBS11’s Cristin Severance for Consumer Justice.
“No one should be treated like that,” said Thompson.
Thompson bought her first home at 50-years-old after years of saving, planning and praying.
“My mom had passed a few years before that and she would have been proud, you know,” said Thompson.
A storm last October blew through her neighborhood damaging her roof and fence.
Thompson received a recommendation for Garza’s Roofing in Dallas for the job.
“I trusted him because he was such a nice guy. I was thinking, his mom raised him right,” said Thompson.
Thompson said owner Jose Garza needed her $4,000 insurance check right away for supplies.
“He kept saying that you’re going to be pleased with our work,” said Thompson.
Garza was supposed to come back the next day.
“The ‘next day’ hasn’t come yet. It’s been… I signed the contract November 12, 2014,” said Thompson.
Now, Thompson said her roof leaks.
“To get up and it’s raining on your bed,” said Thompson.
Thompson has called and texted for a year but has only gotten excuses.
CBS11 also called Garza to ask where he’s been.
Garza: If you give me the opportunity, I can be there with the roofers and we take care of the roof.
Cristin: It’s been so long that she’s not comfortable with you doing the job. She wants her money back.
Garza: Ok, I can do it in payments.
Sharon: I paid you all at one time.
Cristin: She wants her money back just like she paid you. And what happened? What took so long?
Garza: I don’t want to talk to you. Let me talk to the lady
Garza: You want me to pay you back? I can do that. A week after tomorrow.
Thompson said he never showed up.
“That’s wrong, that’s criminal,” said Thompson.
Other people have also recently complained about Garza’s Roofing to the Better Business Bureau.
Another homeowner said Garza took $15,000 for a roof and never did the work.
Garza’s Roofing has a “F” rating on the BBB website.
“No it doesn’t surprise me,” said Karen Vermaire Fox, the executive director of the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association.
Vermaire Fox said anyone can become a roofer in Texas even after years of trying to get something passed in the legislature.
Fed up with lawmakers, Vermaire Fox said the industry is making some changes on their own.
The NTRA is encouraging it’s member to become licensed and will create a database on their website where you can see who has the license and who doesn’t.
In the meantime, Vermaire Fox said the best way to hang on to your money is to pay the company after the work is done.
“Never ever pay a deposit unless someone delivers the materials to your house,” said Vermaire Fox.
Thompson said someone called her from Garza’s number and said he left town.
“I don’t know what to do,” said Thompson.
Just when Thompson had given up hope, CBS11 got her Consumer Justice.
We delivered the news exactly one year after Thompson gave Garza her money.
Cristin: The NTRCA members have all come together and they are going to get you a new roof.
Sharon: Oh, that is wonderful! You got me consumer justice, wow. I feel awesome.
The NTRCA members take on several community service projects a year.
Holly Green, owner of Brettco roofing in Fort Worth, took the lead on the project.
Watch CBS11 News at 6 p.m. this Friday, Nov.20, 2015 for that part of the story.
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