Wednesday, August 22, 2007
Help Me Howard: Warranty versus Storm
A new roof can make you feel high and dry right up until that unexpected leak, but it should have a guarantee, right? That's what one woman thought, until her roofer gave her the runaround saying, "Don't blame us, blame hurricanes past." Now she's calling Help me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Fortunately, we have dodged Dean, but odds are a storm is going to introduce itself to South Florida sometime this season, and then it's going to be, oh, boy.
Kim Naimoli: "It certainly wasn't a hurricane."
Kim Naimoli owns a mortgage company and a title company in Broward.
Kim Naimoli: "The mortgage is the slowest, very, very slow."
That would give some people a headache, but it's an old hurricane that is impacting Kim's office.
Kim Naimoli: "You can see that brown stain right there."
A couple of weeks ago, her ceiling started leaking. But she wasn't worried.
When she bought the building, it included a nearly new roof with a five-year guarantee against leaks due to workmanship and/or materials.
Kim Naimoli: "I was shocked to say the least."
Shocked, she says, when she called the company about the leak and was told:
Kim Naimoli: "Well, it's not our policy to back up our guarantees when there has been a hurricane."
Now, in case you are new to South Florida, the last hurricane we had was Wilma in 2005.
Kim Naimoli: "Common sense will tell you that if it's been two years since the hurricane and the leak just started happening that it wasn't from the hurricane."
Kim says it's odd that they knew the leak came from a hurricane, since they never even saw the damaged roof.
Kim Naimoli: "Nope, they never came out. They never offered to come out and look at it."
We went up and looked.
I am no roofing expert and have no desire to play one on TV, but this damage is not the Grand Canyon, just a two or three inch hole in the asphalt.
Patrick Fraser: "Actually, it looks easy to fix."
Kim Naimoli: "It does look like it would be easy to fix."
Easy to fix if you knew what you were doing or were required to do under a guarantee.
Patrick Fraser: "And they haven't been here to look at it?"
Kim Naimoli: "No."
Now, no roofer in the world can be expected to replace or repair a roof a hurricane damages or destroys. But how can Kim determine if this leak is from an old storm or just poor workmanship? This is why we keep Howard around. Got an answer, Mr. Lawyer?
Howard Finkelstein: "As you said, Patrick, if a hurricane damages a roof the warranty probably doesn't apply. That's an act of God, but roofers can tell if the damage was from a storm two years ago, but not over the phone. They have to come and look at it."
When I spoke to the roofing company, they blamed Kim for being a little pushy. They told me she never explained to them that she was the new owner of the building.
They told me some damage from a hurricane does not show up immediately, but that they would be happy to come out to check Kim's roof and look at the damages.
They added, "We have been in business for decades and our reliable reputation is very important to us." Many people in South Florida replaced roofs after Wilma, and, if a storm hits, they need to know which way to go for possible repairs.
Howard Finkelstein: "If you have roof damage that is not from a storm, and your roofing company won't honor it, get a second opinion, and if it is damage from a storm, contact your insurance company and get them to pay for the repairs."
Hopefully, we will continue to dodge the storms. Heck, hopefully, there won't be any more storms.
Patrick Fraser: "We'll scratch Kim from the list of people with problems. The roofing company came out. They told me some electricians who were working up on the roof caused the damage, but the roofer patched the leak and everybody is happy. And you know we get thousands of complaints every year, and there are some shady, shady companies out there, but most of them are good, honest people. Treat them well, and they will treat you well."
Problems pouring in on you? Can't seem to patch things up? Contact us, we won't soak you with legal gobbledygook, just leave you high and dry, and we mean that in a good way.
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