CHARLESTON – West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office has filed a lawsuit against a Putnam County roofing contractor, alleging the business and its owner used high-pressure sales tactics to force consumers into signing questionable contracts.
The complaint, filed last month in Kanawha Circuit Court, says Quick Silver Restoration LLC and owner Wannis Allen Jr. pressured consumers into entering into roof repair contracts that did not say how much the project would cost, when it would be started or completed and did not include the name, address and phone number of the contractor.
“Our office is committed to protecting West Virginia consumers and defending the West Virginia Consumer Credit and Protection Act,” Morrisey said in a press releaes. “West Virginians should understand that the Consumer Credit and Protection Act applies to all businesses regardless of their size.”
The complaint alleges Quick Silver employees would go door-to-door in a neighborhood, offering homeowners a “free” roof inspection that often would result in the discovery of wind, hail or other weather-related damage that would qualify the roof to be replaced by homeowner’s insurance. The company would have homeowners sign its contract requiring them to pay Quick Silver all of the insurance proceeds they received.
Homeowners were then liable to Quick Silver for a final payment when the job was completed, which often was the amount of the deductible. The contract provided that Quick Silver would not begin work until it received the full amount of the insurance check, however, the complaint alleges Quick Silver would levy a 15 percent penalty on customers if they cancelled the contract.
The complaint alleges Quick Silver’s contracts with homeowners violated the Consumer Credit and Protection Act because they did not include an upfront and well-explained price for the work to be done, description of goods or services purchased, the contractors’ full identity, consumers’ three-day right to cancel, or anticipated completion date.
The complaint alleges the lack of a completion date placed homeowners “at the mercy of Quick Silver” as to when their job was going to be done. In at least one case, a homeowner’s insurance policy was cancelled because Quick Silver had not completed her job.
Quick Silver has offices in Hurricane and Beckley as well as Medina, Ohio, and Statesville, N.C.
The complaint seeks to prohibit Quick Silver and Allen, as well as the company’s employees, agents, contractors, and subcontractors from soliciting any further roofing and related construction jobs.
It also seeks restitution for affected consumers, as well as civil penalties, court and investigation costs and attorney fees.
Morrisey urged homeowners to be wary of any home improvement contractor who comes door to door and uses high-pressure sales tactics, including free inspections, to solicit work.
“Homeowners should carefully review contracts before signing them and never enter into a construction or remodeling contract that does not include the scope of the project, cost of the project, start and completion dates, or the full identity of the contractor,” Morrisey said. “Homeowners also should always get more than one estimate for a home improvement project and be suspicious of contractors who offer to ‘prep’ the site to ensure coverage by the homeowner’s insurance carrier.”
Morrisey’s office is being represented by Assistant Attorney General Betty Adkins Pullin in the Consumer Protection/Antitrust Division.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-1952