Last week, I posted some advice about disputes. The story, in fact, is autobiographical. My wife is fuming mad about a sloppy roofing job on our home. And now we’re about to talk to our lawyer. I can confidently predict we will win, and the damage in word-of-mouth reputation will only compound the financial cost of redoing (or compensating us for someone else to redo the job) from scratch.
To start, and in fairness to the contractor who I won’t name here, I don’t think the new roof will leak anytime soon and his business has presumably completed many projects, all to some level of client satisfaction. (I also will not break my policy of avoiding negative mentions in this blogs of specific businesses or organizations.)
However, when he visited our home to assess our initial complaint, he represented that the subjective observations about quality we were noticing were just that — based on our impressions, not fact. He ignored the rather glaring problems, which we soon uncovered with a little research.
The trouble is, his sales rep asserted that his company is one of only a few that have received manufacturers’ certification for quality. And the manufacturer, which again I won’t name here, has posted plenty of details about correct roofing installation practices on its website, including a comprehensive video about what to do — and not to do — in laying down the shingles.
It turns out, there is a section of our roof, the small portion overlooking the garage, which we can view overhead from our son’s second-floor room window. And there, we could see the tiling patterns didn’t match at all the manufacturers specifications for shingle installation.
See this picture. If you can explain the problem in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, I’ll arrange to send you a free copy of my book on social media marketing. If you post your observations directly as a comment, you will receive the book as well — but that will automatically end the contest. I’ll post all the comments on Sept. 28.
We called a qualified building inspector, who checked the entire roof, took photos, compared the work to the specific installation instructions, and provided us a brief but objective third-party report saying the installation had not been completed according to specifications.
Now things get interesting.
Although the roofer’s policy (like most) is to receive 100 per cent payment immediately upon completion, through a screw up on the company rep’s part, he failed to collect my credit card information for half of the job that I was putting on my business account. This gave my wife some time to really look at the roof and sense, indeed, the job wasn’t right. By the time the company got around to asking for the credit card number, we had started our research into the problem. I was quite ready to pay in full if the problem was purely subjective — that is we simply didn’t like the work — but obviously now that is not the case.
As far as I can tell, the only proper solution will be to tear the work out completely and rebuild from scratch. Just relaying new shingles over the old won’t provide a satisfactory permanent solution, and I expect underlying materials will also need to be corrected because of staple holes. The question is whether we need to have the existing roofer redo the work, or we can get someone else to do it and charge the costs back to the roofer. We would prefer the latter option, because trust has been broken. That is where our lawyer comes into the picture.
Now, maybe the roofer thought the job was okay, and maybe the workmanship meets minimum standards and code requirements. But he can’t get around the shingle manufacturers’ installation instructions (including a comprehensive video), nor can he deny that his company used the manufacturer’s certification in his marketing messages. We’ve validated our perceptions with a proper third-party inspection. The roofing crew failed to install the shingles properly.
Yeah, we erred in going with the lowest price from what appeared to be a qualified roofer.
Already one neighbour, having heard our story, has decided to remove the contractor from her short-list. There will be more negative word-of-mouth reviews. The roofer is fortunate in that I have made it a policy not to identify individual businesses or organizations negatively in this blog or that negative word-of-mouth would have been magnified exponentially.
We should be reminded that brand is based on experience. The roofer could have solved the issue by inspecting the work, seeing the errors (ahead of us digging out the information) and making good. Now it is too late.