BBB Investigation: New Braunfels roofing company takes thousands from customers, completed little work

  
     
October 17, 2017

NEW BRAUNFELS On August 8, 2017, BBB initiated an industry wide investigation on roofing contractors in Texas. Among the most complained about roofing companies was Bow-Tie Roofing out of New Braunfels, Texas. Since the onset of BBB’s investigation into the company’s business practices and ownership, consumer complaints against Bow-Tie have nearly doubled.

BBB began receiving an increase in consumer complaints against Bow-Tie in early 2016 following a series of hailstorms and severe weather that impacted Central Texas. Consumers alleged paying upfront fees for services without any work being done months later.  Additionally, consumers claimed experiencing difficulties contacting the company to question why their contracts had not been completed. 

Bow-Tie’s response to complaints typically consisted of an apology and an explanation that the delay and customer service issues were due to a backlog of contracts as a result of the hail storms and severe weather.

For some, the paid work was eventually completed. However, Bow-Tie along with many other roofing companies became inundated with contracts when three hail storms in April 2016 hit the San Antonio area. According to the Texas Department of Insurance, 125,000 homes were damaged.

A snowball effect ensued. Bow-Tie continued to bring on new customers who made upfront payments for services and the company’s backlog grew.

From March 2016 to March 2017, BBB received an additional 38 consumer complaints against Bow-Tie alleging that they were still waiting to have their roofs repaired after months, for some, nearly a year since payment for services had been provided. Similar to their previous responses, Bow-Tie apologized for the delay and explained that they now had an “extremely long back log” of contracts that they were trying to fulfill.

Then, in April 2017, Bow-Tie customer Evan Barnett reached out to BBB and informed us that a Bow-Tie representative contacted him and told him that the Bow-Tie franchise had closed and that the $5,200 deposit he paid to the company in April 2016 was gone.

BBB learned that Bow-Tie was owned and managed by June and Jason Roberts before selling the company in April 2017 to then Bow-Tie employees Jasmine and Joshua Norris. For months following the sale, Bow-Tie continued to take on new clients who paid upfront fees.

Nearly six months later, the Norris’ are claiming they were unaware of the volume of pending contracts and that the money transferred was insufficient. The Roberts claim all monies were transferred per the agreement with the understanding that the Norris’ would fulfill the pending contracts.

Both parties have since retained legal counsel while dozens of consumers wait without answers as to where their money is and whom is responsible.

In the interim, Joshua Norris has started a new roofing company out of New Braunfels named R & R Company, LLC. R&R is actively posting job positions on Indeed for new hires to help with Hurricane Harvey relief and their Facebook page states: “We are new to the area but not the roofing and restoration business!”

Since the start of BBB’s investigation less than two months ago, consumer complaints against Bow-Tie have increased substantially. As of October 16, 2017, BBB has received 82 consumer complaints against the company.

Thus far, BBB’s investigation has confirmed at least 37 of these consumers have yet to receive refunds or have their work completed. Fourteen of the 37, over a third of the consumers, contracted with Bow-Tie after the company sold and was under new ownership. Total, these 37 consumers have paid Bow-Tie a combined amount of nearly $250,000.

BBB has some tips that can make finding a reputable roofing contractor easier:

  • Do your homework. Check with BBB before choosing a roofing contractor. Get referrals, compare several price quotes, and always confirm the contact information of the contractor you choose. Beware of red flags, including high pressure sales tactics, full upfront payment or low estimates that may potentially balloon over time or foreshadow shoddy work to come. If possible, ask for references and check them. Try to talk to previous customers, and look at a similar job that has been completed recently and for one that was several years ago.
  • Work closely with your insurance company on repairs. Make sure you understand how your homeowner's insurance company will reimburse your repair costs. Before spending money, call your insurance company first to make sure all necessary procedures are followed according to your policy. If you do not follow your insurance company's guidelines, you may be stuck with the entire bill.
  • Ask about warranties. Warranties and workmanship are only as good as the company that stands behind them. Trustworthy businesses will offer information about how they plan to handle any repairs covered under their warranty, particularly if they are coming in from another area.
  • Get everything in writing. Make sure all work is explained in the contract, including cleanup, waste disposal and start and completion dates. Any verbal agreements that were made should be included in the contract. Pay close attention to the payment terms, estimated price of materials, labor and any guarantees. You should also get a copy of the contractor's insurance. Any changes to your contract should be done in the form of a change order. Be sure the contract includes a physical address and phone number of the contractor. If you can, visit the address.
  • Beware of rogue contractors. In the wake of a storm, dishonest roofing repair businesses will solicit work, often going door-to-door in unmarked trucks. They may require advance payment or make big promises they won't deliver on. A common sales tactic is to tell the homeowner that their roof is severely damaged from the storm, but that their insurance company will likely cover the cost. The homeowner is then required to sign a contract and make an advance payment. In many of these cases, BBB hears that the job is never completed and the insurance company does not cover the cost.