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Am I being scammed by the roofer?

PenobscotMan's picture

I'm very uneasy about an "additional charge" that my roofer is about to present.  Last weekend the roofing company completed a tear-off re-roof of our house.  All seemed to go well.  But last night the estimator called to say there would be an "additional charge" of $950 to cover sistering 12 rotted rafter ends.  This was a big surprise, because ...

1.  We had a contract, not an estimate, to cover the job.  There is nothing in the contract that says unanticipated repairs would have to be covered by a change order and renegotiated.  The company agreed to do the job for a fixed price.

2.  I was at home throughout the job and none of the crew spoke to me then to say they had discovered rot and that it had to be dealt with.  I can climb ladders and could have had a look.

3.  The estimator says that 12 rafter tails had to be sistered.  I have partial access through the attic, and I can't see the new work (assuming I'm looking in the right  place.)  The fascia is actually not attached to rafter ends but to L-shaped things hung from the rafters.  (This is a 1905 house)  I can see the fascia from the inside, part way, but no new wood.

4.  I accept that rotted rafter ends are not surprising in a house this old.  I am happy to pay a fair price and think the carpenters should have decent wages.  But $950 seems high.  I have sistered rafter ends myself and I don't think it's  big deal once scaffolding is up and the roof sheathing is cut back if need be.   At $60/hour labor charge (just guessing) that's nearly 16 man-hours, or 2 guys for one day.  I don't believe that.

So what to think?  I expect to meet with the estimator next week.  The company is one with an excellent local reputation, but most of the clients have little carpentry experience.   Am I being scammed?

The cynic in me would say (post #209586, reply #1 of 14)

The cynic in me would say that where there's a roofer there's a scam.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

Roof Additional Charges (post #209586, reply #2 of 14)

Is the Estimator just a sales person?  If so, I would talk to the owner and ask why the Estimator didn't mention how unanticipated problems would be addressed?  Also, why the rot wasn't brought to your attention when it was found......no supervisor on the job.....and definitely not the Estimator?  Depending on the nature of hidden problems we as homeowners have to have some flexibility and understanding of what it might cost.  Again, if the company is using Estimators, i.e. not a small mom and pop or family run company then there's going to be more overhead which you're paying for.   You'll probably get the most satisfication from the owner so skip the Estimator if possible.

"Estimator" (post #209586, reply #3 of 14)

I'm not sure what the lines of authority are in this outfit.  The only guy who will talk to you is the "estimator".  I call him that because he estimated the job, presented the contract, comes by for the check, etc.  The crew members aren't communcative and I can't always tell who is actually doing the supervision.  They do work together very efficiently and calmly. But there is no one walking around with a clipboard and a cell phone but no tool belt.

I will know more tomorrow.

Estimator (post #209586, reply #4 of 14)

Please let us know what happens tomorrow.  Also, can  you share the company name and location?

Man (post #209586, reply #5 of 14)

The contract wording would be good to post if you can do it.  There should be some wording in there that even comes close to allowing extra work to proceed w/o a change or authorization order.

Further, your attention should have been directed to the scope of work since you were around to take a look.

Best of luck.

A Great Place for Information, Comraderie, and a Sucker Punch.

Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City.


http://www.quittintime.com/

 


Anything outside of a (post #209586, reply #6 of 14)

Anything outside of a contract or quote is always hard to manage.  Communication is always important, preferably up front before any work is done.

Not defending either home owner or company but contracts should always include 'what if' scenarios.  With work I had done on my roof it was agreed in the contract that up to 2 sheets of plywood could be replaced within the prices.  All else would be discussed and agreed before proceeding.

First check to make sure the work was actually completed.  Discuss this with the 'estimator' and have them show you where the work was done and confirm how it was done (i.e., the length of the sister rafter that was used).  I do not know what is the proper length of rather to use for sistering...is there a general rule such as twice the length of the rotted rafter?

Depending on the length of the rater they used you could reasonably expect to see it from the attic space but find out first.

Did you see the work crew stop to bring in or use any rafters?

If you are satisifed that the work was done and done properly then you have to discuss the price so that t is fair to both parties to answer the question whether the extra amount reasonable?  

You estimated the extra charge is roughly two day for a two man crew assuming $60/hour but without material cost (rafters, roof sheathing, etc.).  Twelve rafter ends would need about 2 sheets of plywood plus the rafters themselves and possibly a delivery charge from the supplier (you wouldn't want the crew to stop work to pick up material).  With these factored in the amount of man-hours would be less.

Also consider the original quote.  Did it say how long the work would take and was the crew there for that amount of time plus additional time for fixing the rafters?  By example, did the quote say they would be done in a day but the crew was there for a day and a half or two days?  This would indicate that they did extra work.

If the quote noted that they would be there for two days and they were actually there for two days or less then it would be reasonable to expect the initial quote to cover the labor for extra work but not extra material costs.

This information will hopefully give you a better idea whether the extra cost is reasonable.

I hope it works out.

Two points I forgot to add to (post #209586, reply #7 of 14)

Two points I forgot to add to my post:

- in addition to the timit also takes some additional time to add a birdsmouth the to rafter.  They may have had to do this too and something to consider when figuring out if the extra time spent is reasonable.

- have the estimator provide the bill for the extra material they used.  If the extra work was not anticipated then they should have a separate invoice from the supplier for this extra material.  This info might help determine if the cost is reasonable.

No charge, after all (post #209586, reply #8 of 14)

In the end, I wasn't charged for the extra work after all.  I didn't need to protest too much, but expresssed my unease at the charge for the reasons I noted in my original post.  We parted on cordial terms.  So, no harm no foul, or whatever the expression is, but I wish this hadn't happened.  As I say, we parted on cordial terms, and I'm guessing the company weighed the benefit of the additional revenue versus the hassle of small claims court, negative reviews, bad word of mouth etc.  They agree that things would have been better with a clearer contract with a contingency clause and better communication with the crew.  The crew was outstanding, but they work under considerable pressure of time and that might have co tributed to the lack of communication.  It's still winter here (Buffalo NY) and cold working on a roof.

This is my first post in the Business section of BT.   Doesn't seem too active.   have numerous posts elsewhere on BT from the DIY POV.

Thanks, guys, for the comments.

Most of us don't work through (post #209586, reply #9 of 14)

Most of us don't work through the different sections here, but just look at "Recent Posts".


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville

That is good news.  It would (post #209586, reply #10 of 14)

That is good news.  It would have been interesting to know if they actually did the work but then again if they are a reputable firm then it likely was done.

I can only imagine what it muyst be like to work in Buffalo this past winter.  Aside from teh cold, the snow load must have been crazy!

I think that because you have (post #209586, reply #11 of 14)

I think that because you have a contract, this would put you in an excellent position to talk to them and let them know that you are not just going to blindly accept any additional charges like that. I am glad to hear that you are not getting billed any extra especially after you have the contract in place the way you did here.

I feel so bad, someone deleted my scum sucking spam link............

Glad that you did not have to pay (post #209586, reply #12 of 14)

I am really glad to hear that you did not have to pay any extra charge and the things went well. I hope this had happend with those investers too who had been the part of the fraud done by Jawad Rathore and his partner Vincenzo Petrozza.

One of my friends was also one of the investers and I understand how bad it feels when you are being cheated or you are wrongly charged.


Anyways Congrats that you were saved

No matter get the roof done (post #209586, reply #13 of 14)

No matter get the roof done well. Having after water infiltration it's one big problem that will cause you extra costs. About being charged extra. Get yourself an extra roof installer just to get an opinion. If it's true you can sue the company because you probably have contract signed. 

Logcabins, your "me too" (post #209586, reply #14 of 14)

Logcabins, your "me too" posts are starting to look a lot like spam.


Of all the preposterous assumptions of humanity over humanity, nothing exceeds most of the criticisms made on the habits of the poor by the well-housed, well-warmed, and well-fed.  --Herman Melville