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On Your Side walks you through things to do before hiring a roofer

7:37 PM, Feb 5, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When it comes to consumer complaints, home repairs top the list. Donald Van Dyk wanted a new roof and said the roofer he hired did not deliver.

"(It is) a tragedy, you know," said Van Dyk.

Van Dyk, who is disabled, hired Jerry Howard Roofing and Home Improvement a few months ago. Due to his spinal injury, he has problems with his speech and thoughts, but his level of frustration is very clear.

"I'm angry, you know," he said. "Sad."

Van Dyk paid the roofer $3,600 and wants to know what happened to his investment.

"I feel I was ripped off," said Van Dyk. 

Van Dyk filed a police complaint; The Jacksonville Sheriff's Office economic crime unit was investigating his complaint, but declared it a civil matter.

Then he discovered that this is not the first time Gerald Howard's name has surfaced with JSO.

Court records reveal in 2009, Howard was arrested for "unlicensed contracting." He pleaded no contest, but last October, he was adjudicated guilty.

"I paid him cash," he said.

Van Dyk is reaching out to any regulatory agency that will listen. He did not get his and now he wants his money.

"I want my money," said Van Dyk, "I want a refund please."

When First Coast News reached Howard by phone, said he's no longer in the roofing business. Howard said he was using another person's license to qualify when he was.

He said he is going to give Van Dyk a refund

"I don't want to do him wrong," said Howard "I've got the money for him and left him two messages."

"He needs to call me," he added.

Five things you must do before hiring a roofer:

1) Do your homework. Check to see if  the person is licensed to be a roofer. It is easy to check at the website www.myfloridalicense.com 

2) Ask for a certificate of insurance. Make sure there's a policy for Liability and Workers Compensation. You want to be protected if someone gets hurt on the job.

3) Make sure the roofer pulls the permits and not you. That way, the project will be inspected by the permitting agency.

4) Ask about the warranty, what's covered and what's not covered. There's a difference between a warranty for material and a warranty for labor.

5) Ask for at least FIVE references and contact the references to see if they were happy with the work and if it was done in a timely manner.

First Coast News

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