Follow CBSDFW.COM: Facebook | Twitter
CEDAR HILL (CBS11) – Mary Burke has tried calling, texting and emailing Jorge Garcia.
Now, she’s protesting outside his Cedar Hill home.
“I will be here every weekend until we get some results,” said Burke.
Burke hired Garcia’s company House of Tomorrow to repair her mother’s roof after a hail storm.
She said it was $7,000 to $9,000 to repair the roof and back patio.
She gave him $1,800 up front.
“We probably had ten people come through in a matter of a month to get everything right,” said Burke.
She said she dealt with Garcia’s employees and a public insurance adjuster sent to her home by the company.
A public adjuster is supposed to assess the damage and negotiate with the insurance company on behalf of the homeowner.
“I was confident. She’s got a license, a Texas insurance adjuster license on there,” said Burke referring to the adjuster’s paperwork.
Then came explanations as to why the work wasn’t getting done.
“He lost his crews. He doesn’t have any workers,” said Burke.
Then she heard the office shut down.
“[I feel] taken advantage of, stupid, angry,” said Burke.
CBS11 went to the House of Tomorrow office and it was closed.
A customer was standing outside of the shut down office who said she was owed $6,000 and doesn’t have a roof.
“It’s a big problem, it’s a lot of money,” said the customer.
Steven Badger of the Zelle law firm filed a class action lawsuit against House of Tomorrow to try and recoup some of the money the homeowners paid.
“My phone rings every single day. All of these people gave their insurance proceeds to the contractor and there is no roof for them now,” said Badger.
Attorney Mark Ticer of the Ticer Law Firm filed a separate lawsuit against the company and the attorneys allegedly working with House of Tomorrow/Lambcorp.
“There isn’t a doubt in mind that they preyed on these homeowners,” said Ticer.
Both attorneys, who are not working together on this case and neither of whom represent Burke, allege the same scheme.
They said an employee goes door-to-door after a storm and homeowner signs a contract with them for a new roof.
“The roofing contractor submits the claim which is illegal in Texas,” said Badger.
Badger said the contractor then takes the insurance money and files the claim.
“They’ll often say hey, here isn’t enough money, let us bring in a public adjuster to try and get you more money,” said Badger.
According to state law, a roofing contractor can’t act as a public adjuster.
Then, many times, Ticer said the homeowner signs paperwork unknowingly hiring an attorney.
“The client doesn’t even know a lawsuit has been filed,” said Ticer.
Ticer said the attorney then bundles a number of claims together and settles with an insurance company.
“Everyone gets paid, it’s a sweet deal. Everyone but the homeowner,” said Ticer.
Burke, left without her money or roof, feels her protest is the only way to get Garcia’s attention.
“I want him to stop taking money from everyone,” said Burke.
Burke took cell phone video of Garcia taking her sign and dragging it through his yard. He then called police.
Burke was not given a citation.
“He should go to jail, they all should go to jail,” said Burke.
Garcia’s attorney did not respond to our request for a comment.
Garcia told CBS11 to leave his property or he’d call police when we knocked on his door.
Both attorneys told CBS11 other companies are doing the same scheme all over Texas.
(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
CONSUMER JUSTICE EXTRAS:
Karen Vermair Fox, Executive Director of the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association told CBS 11 the following:
NTRCA advises homeowners to be wary of high pressure sales tactics, which often, but not always, is a tactic employed by door-to-door solicitors. A good, professional roofing contractor – whether they knock on doors or not – will not rush homeowners to sign something, will be patient with questions, will willingly provide references and their certificate of insurance, and will have a local office year-round (not just for storm season opportunities). Homeowners should never sign a contract or hand over money to a contractor without doing ample research on the roofing company they are considering.
It’s common knowledge within the roofing industry that a roofer is not allowed to act as both the roofer and a public adjuster for the same job, although most homeowners are probably not aware of this. Homeowners should know because if a roofer claims they can do both, they are violating Texas law, and a professional roofer will know better than to tell a homeowner that they can put on their roof AND negotiate the homeowner’s insurance claim for them.
Don’t hire a roofer just because they can get to you now. The good roofers are worth the wait! With the massive amounts of rain/storm damage to homes across the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, our members (all local roofing companies who have met strict criteria to qualify as NTRCA members) are facing labor and material shortages. It’s not as simple as just hiring more people — quality, experienced crew members deliver quality roofs, and the good roofing companies don’t want to short-change their customers by putting just anyone on a customer’s roof! Local roofers are working every sunny daylight hour possible in order to get to everyone, prioritizing those with leaks or the greatest potential for leaks. Additionally, shingle manufacturers are having a difficult time keeping up with demand, and many types of shingles are in short supply. If you want a specific color or type of shingle, you may have to wait.