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Small Claims Court for Roof need information

Small Claims Court for Roof need information


Old 09-19-11, 05:55 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: united states
Posts: 11
Small Claims Court for Roof need information

I had a roof installed by a big box store in Oct 2010, there were numerous problems with roof and bad spots. The store agreed to replace the roof in July 2011 which they did. They told me they would make sure this time it was done right. Well the 2nd time around had just as many or more problems than the first and I continue to be told they will be out to fix. I have meet with them probably 5 times at house to show the same problem to different managers and have continued to be promised it will be fixed and almost a year after the initial install and 2+ months after second install I am getting the run around and thinking about just filing a small claims court suit. I have never did this before and would like some advice like: What can I sue for, the entire cost of roof or will I need to get an estimate from another contractor for repair cost and only sue for that amount. Can I sue for all my time dealing with this and for the time I spent fixing things I could and picking up trash and nails which I found over 100 and had 2 nail holes in tires.
Some of the issues still having is damaged shingles, bent gutters and trim flash from their ladder, can't clean out gutters due to too much overhang (they have supposedly fixed this once), overhang part of roof which is visible main entrance to house is crooked, and still have shingles that are buckled and will not lay down. I have pages and pages of documentation, emails and photos.
Thanks for any advice or suggestions, I live in Virginia.
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Old 09-20-11, 03:35 AM
chandler's Avatar
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Your documentation and photos are your best evidence. You need to date all the photos. Having the camera do it for you would have been even better, not that it is solid date proof.
You would need to check with the magistrate court of their county to determine the procedure. You would have to sue them in the county where they are located or where they have an agent. You need to get hopping as some small claims suits are limited to one year. At least get it filed. Whether or not you take action on it or not is another matter. They can stall you past the statute of limitations and walk away with a smile and all your money. Just do it soon. Make copies of all your photos as you will need to relinquish them to the suit paperwork, and you want to keep copies.
This is not legal advice, as I don't even play a lawyer on TV. I just have been through it and can offer advice based on experience.
Old 09-20-11, 05:30 AM
ray2047's Avatar
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Not to be construed as legal advice but based on watching a lot of small claims court TV shows I'd say you can sue for the cost of repair. To support the cost you claim you will need two or better three estimates from licensed contractors. Not just a figure scribbled on the back of a business card as some repair people do but a detailed quote on an estimate sheet.
Old 09-20-11, 06:55 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: New England
Posts: 10,024
Check your limitations in small claims court to be sure you can sue for the amount you are after. If you obtained proof of insurance you could talk to their insurance company to see if there is any liability for lack of performance.

Other roofing contractors may want a fee to prepare a statement related to the failings as that can go beyond just providing an estimate.

My advice is to schedule a sit down with the highest person you can, present them with written documentation as to what has transpired and see if you can get a firm date to get the work done. You can be firm, but if you hold back on stating "law suit" or "small claims" then you will not as yet have changed the spirit of the negotiations.

Once they see the paperwork, they should know they are sunk and must get it fixed.

As long as it isn't leaking, you can at least leave it as is while you pursue your options. After two failed roofing jobs, you are reaching the point of questioning whether you want THEM to do a third.

If your options through small claims expire or fail to cover the work needed, then a lawyer and traditional court action may be possible.

As the others stated, this is not legal advice, just best guess.

Old 09-20-11, 07:40 AM
Gunguy45's Avatar
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
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I'd also suggest moving past just the store..if that's all you've dealt with so far. Every HD or Lowes belongs to a District, all those districts belong to Regions, etc etc.

When I was with HD, there was a District install manager who could hire and fire companies that did bad work. He was also responsible for the QA on any complaints.

If you file any sort of court suit...it immediately gets turned over to corporate legal..the stores will not even talk to you after they get notification. Matter of fact...our Managers instructions were, after trying to make the customer happy, if anyone even said "I'm tired of this" and "I'm going to call my lawyer" or "Maybe I should just sue"...they were to give them the Corporate number and terminate any further direct communication. Once it goes to corporate...it could be many months before you get resolution. I remember one thing that went on for over 18 months.
Old 10-11-11, 11:53 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: USA
Posts: 3,196
Sounds like you have a case, but consider the following:

1. Try to get the store manager at Company XXXXX to meet with you at your property. Show him/her all of your documentation including pictures, then take h/h up on the roof to show them in person what your concerns are. Don't settle for assistant anythings, you want the Main Man/Woman. If they give you the run-around, proceed to step 2.

2. Show the store manager a mock-up of the half-page advertisement you intend to run in the local and regional newspapers, including pictures and the XXXXX name in large letters. Include the wording "This Is What To Look Forward To When Your New Roof Is Installed By XXXXX". Include your name and phone number in the ad, as an indication of your sincerity.

3. If by chance your shingles were installed using staples instead of nails, you just won the case. The IRC (International Residential Code) Section R 905.2.5 and most state/local building codes require nails, NOT staples, be used for installing shingles. Your Small Claims Court plea can include the fact that your home cannot be sold to anyone in the future, as it contains a non-code-compliant roof.

4. Get 3 quotations for replacing the faulty roof, including tear-off, on company letterhead. And plan to spend time up on the roof when the replacement is installed. Include all 3 quotes as part of your Small Claims Court claim.

5. Do not get lawyers involved. Even though you may win, you will lose (financially). Do the arithmetic--a free $10,000 roof and a legal bill for $20,000.

6. Most Small Claims Courts do not allow anyone to claim the time they have spent on their own case (I know, I've been there). Just submit the facts, documents, and pictures. Try not to let your emotions get involved.

And Good Luck. Keep us informed as to how it goes.

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