Roofing company allegedly bails out of contracts

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -  What started as a few complaints about delays in the installation of new roofs is now turning into a nightmare for hundreds of homeowners in 11 states.

Headquartered in Atlanta, American Shingle & Siding began doing business in Charlotte late last year. Since then, more than 2,000 homeowners have checked on American Shingle & Siding with the Charlotte BBB. However, until recently, there were no red flags of any kind.

American Shingle aggressively worked its way through neighborhoods in NC, SC, TN, GA, AL and six other states, allegedly bringing free pizza for homeowners to enjoy while the company inspected their roofs for hail damage at no charge.

After finding hail damage, American Shingle's sales representatives told homeowners that the company would work with their insurance company to put a new roof on their house at no out-of-pocket expense to the homeowner.

With the cost of a roof replacement ranging from $4,000 to more than $10,000, the lure of a new roof was an easy sale to homeowners with older homes or to homeowners who may be looking to sell their home soon.

American Shingle then convinced homeowners to sign contracts, file insurance claims, and hand over their insurance checks, reportedly promising to start work on the new roof within days.

"When the company missed promised start dates, homeowners began to question American Shingle," said BBB President Tom Bartholomy, "and that's when the BBB began to get complaints." More than 300 homeowners have filed complaints against American Shingle & Siding. The BBB has sent the complaints to the Attorneys General in NC and TN, and the Georgia Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs for investigation. American Shingle & Siding abruptly closed its Charlotte, NC office last week.

American Shingle's voice mail message (888-840-8906) states that the company closed during its relocation, but would reopen and continue doing business on August, 16, 2010. However, the BBB has not been able to confirm if the company has filed for bankruptcy, reopened, or if it is operating under a new name.

Now the CEO of the company, Carlton Dunko, tells a Macon, Georgia, television station that allegations he was running a scam are not true.

"We installed 10,200 roofs and the last 50-70 or so checks that we collected we never cashed.  Does that sound like a con artist to you?" Dunko said.

He estimates he has around $300,000 in checks he says he plans to return to customers.  However, he does not want to diminish the impact this has had on people who signed over insurance checks but never got their roofs.

The company experienced some cash flow problems back in May, Dunko says, and they fell behind on bills.

"The only way to pay the money for the Roofing Supply Group would be to not do the installs the following week and take the money that we collected from new accounts and use that to pay RSG.  When we have to push that customer, we have to give them a new install date, they start to cancel.  It's a spiral of death from there," Dunko said.

The company also owes unpaid wages to employees, and money to vendors.

"There are basically two classes of homeowners who are negatively impacted by American Shingle's actions," said Bartholomy, "homeowners who signed a contract with the company for a new roof, but have not paid for it yet, and homeowners who have signed a contract and have signed over their insurance check to American Shingle."

If you have signed a contract with American Shingle, but have not paid, the BBB recommends that you send a certified letter to American Shingle's new address in Georgia (see BBB report below for address) stating that you are canceling your contract effective immediately and copy your homeowner's insurance.

Link to American Shingle's BBB Report (Grade F):

If you have signed a contract and signed over your insurance check to American Shingle, the BBB recommends that you notify your insurance company immediately, and work with the BBB and your state's Attorney General to get American Shingle to install a new roof on your home or to cancel your contract and refund your money.

If you filed a claim with your homeowner's insurance for roof damage, whether it was denied, approved or paid, your insurance company could raise your homeowner's insurance premiums or they could elect not to renew your homeowner's insurance policy at all.

"This roofing company has gone bad fast," Bartholomy added. "The advice that we offer homeowners who may have hail damage is to do business with a local roofing company that has a long history of providing services in our community."

Homeowners should start by checking the business out with the BBB. The BBB has a list of local roofing companies that are BBB Accredited businesses with excellent ratings and records of addressing and resolving consumer complaints.

Consumers can check out a business and get a free Reliability Report online by visiting the BBB website at<> or by calling the BBB (toll-free in N.C. and S.C.) at 1-877-317-7236.