BBB Investigation: Customers claim San Antonio roofing company took cash, did no work

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A San Antonio roofing company has left some customers frustrated and wanting answers. But it’s not about what Durizon Roofing & Construction did do, it’s about what they allegedly didn’t do.

According to complaints filed with BBB, consumers hired the company to fix damages to their roofs. But after paying an upfront fee, Durizon Roofing & Construction allegedly never came back to start the job. Customers told BBB they repeatedly called the business to get answers, but either never received a call back or were told that the company was busy with other homes.

The company has responded to complaints by saying the work was completed or by giving an expected start date. BBB contacted these consumers to verify what the business claimed.

One customer stated Durizon Roofing & Construction repaired the roof of their home six months later after signing the contract in December 2015. However, the business did not work on the roof of their porch even though the contract stated it would be. Two others told BBB the business began the work and never finished. An additional consumer said the business repeatedly promised to complete their roof but never did.

But this isn’t the first time the company has shown a pattern of non-completion of work.

BBB’s investigation revealed the owners of Durizon Roofing & Construction, Richard Stevens and Mark Rodriguez, were co-owners of another business in Allen, Texas, called Castle Rock Construction. Complaints filed with that business revealed they failed to comply with an arbitration decisions or mediated settlement. Additionally, complainants alleged they had no work done on their roofs after paying upfront.

Anita Soliz contracted with Durizon Roofing & Construction in late October 2015. She said a roof inspector with the company came to her door after a hail storm hit San Antonio.

“He told me he could take a look at my roof for a free inspection and I thought ‘why not’,” Soliz said.

The company’s inspector came back and told Soliz he had found some damage. Soliz then decided to call her insurance to have an adjuster take a look with the inspector. Her adjuster then gave her a check to pay for the roof, but gave her some words of caution.

“He told to me be sure to not pay all of it at once to my roofer,” Soliz said.

Since Soliz felt comfortable with the inspector, she decided to go ahead and contract with Durizon Roofing & Construction. But first, she was asked to pay a fee in order to reserve her spot since the company had other clients in front of her.

“He pretty much told me they were getting really busy and would need $800 to hold my place, but that I would be a priority,” Soliz said.

Soliz wrote a personal $800 check out to the company, but said she never heard from them after that. Soliz said the business continuously evaded her calls, causing her to hire a lawyer in March to demand work to be done. Nothing ever came of it and she never used the check given to her by the insurance company. However, Soliz said she wasn’t refunded the $800.

“I ended up just hiring another roofer in April. It’s frustrating because Durizon Roofing only sent me regular mail twice, which was to tell me they were moving and a Christmas type card,” Soliz said.

BBB confirmed the business moved to a new location at 9200 Broadway St., Ste. 120 in San Antonio.

The business did respond to Soliz’s complaint by providing a phone number to call in order to receive her refund. Soliz said she called the number twice in June, but no one answered.

BBB also uncovered through a Bexar County public records search that the business owed money to two different companies, Austin Roofer’s Supply LLC and Roofing Supply Group, LLC.

Documents show Austin Roofer’s Supply LLC placed a lien on Durizon in September 2015 after the company failed to pay $3,000.

Separate documents revealed Roofing Supply Group, LLC sued Durizon Roofing & Construction for an unpaid debt of $33,673.29 after Durizon ordered materials and had not paid in over 30 days. Roofing Supply Group won the suit in March 2016. Documents reveal their lawyers filed a writ of execution, which allows a sheriff to seize Durizon Roofing & Construction’s assets and sell them in order to settle the debt.

BBB contacted the lawyer representing Roofing Supply Group, LLC to see if the writ of execution was completed, however he was unable to comment on the case.

Another complainant, Peggy Mott, told BBB she paid Durizon Roofing & Construction $4,620 as an upfront fee from her insurance to repair issues with her roof. Similar to Soliz, Mott says an inspector came to her home and checked her roof for damages for free. After paying the business, they never came back to repair the roof.

“They told me they would start around the second week of November. That date came and went,” Mott said.

Mott said she has called the business repeatedly at least once a month.

Durizon Roofing & Construction responded to Mott’s complaint by stating the work would be completed on July 17. According To Mott, the business has yet to finish the job as of July 18, 2016.

BBB sent three letters during the months of May and June to Durizon Roofing & Construction addressed to Mr. Richard Stevens, asking the company to address the complaint concerns.

On July 19, the company’s co-owner Mark Rodriguez responded to BBB’s letter with the following:

“The administrative assistant that we employed to handle these complaints did not inform us that we had so many outstanding issues with our customers. She had sole access to the email on file with the BBB and failed to communicate with her supervisors. When we discovered the volume of complaints that had been neglected, she was immediately dismissed. We are currently organizing our efforts to address each complaint and would appreciate your help in resolving this matter. The top priority is taking care of our customers, and addressing these complaints in a satisfactory manner.”

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.
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Texas AG warns of email scam containing harmful malware

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The Attorney General of Texas is warning consumers and businesses throughout Texas of a new email scam that contains malicious malware and claims to come from the Office of the Attorney General.

According to the OAG, the email appears as though it came from the Consumer Protection Division and informs business owners that a complaint has been filed against them. The email contains a link, which if clicked on, downloads harmful malware onto your computer.

The OAG said there are several signs that can help consumers and businesses realize the email is fake. For example, some red flags are if the email contains obvious typos or miscapitalized words.

Additionally, you can check the sender’s email address. If it doesn’t end with “texasattorneygeneral.gov” or “consumerprotection-complaints@texasattorneygeneral.gov”, it may be a phishing email.

If you’re not sure who the email is from, don’t open it. Also, be sure your computer is up to date with antivirus software.

You can also report this scam with BBB.

 

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Half a million hoverboards recalled for fire risk

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A massive recall of over 500,000 hoverboards has been issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission after the agency received numerous reports of hoverboards catching fire or spewing smoke.

The announcement was made on Wednesday with the CPSC stating it received at least 99 incidents reports of battery packs in hoverboards overheating, sparking, smoking, catching fire and/or exploding including reports of burn injuries and property damage.

The recall involves eight business, one retail store, and one online retailer.

In late 2015, online retailer Amazon pulled some hoverboards from their websites after safety concerns regarding the boards’ lithium-ion batteries.

CPSC said consumers should immediately stop using the recalled products and contact the recalling company to return their hoverboard for a full refund, a free repair or a free replacement depending on the model.

To view a list of the companies & stores listed in the recall, click here.

 

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Invasion of Privacy? FTC claims mobile advertising company tracked users without consent

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When you set your privacy setting to not allow an app to know your location, you expect that privacy to be honored. But what if it isn’t?

According to the FTC, a mobile advertising company took an extra in trying to lure consumers. How? By secretly tracking people through their devices, regardless of their privacy settings.

The FTC says InMobi tracked people using information from the Wi-Fi networks connected to or near their devices. The idea was to send consumers location-based advertising — ads that display on a mobile app when the user’s location suggests they’re likely to buy, such as when they’re inside an advertiser’s store.

The company gave app developers software to display the ads in their apps. However, they allegedly did not clearly tell the developers the software would track location even if someone didn’t want to be tracked and had set a device to deny access to its location information.

So, if you had set your privacy setting for the app to never know your location, it wouldn’t have mattered.

InMobi’s network reaches more than a than a billion devices worldwide through thousands of popular apps, including children’s apps.

The case is the first time the Federal Trade Commission charged a mobile ad company with deception and with violating the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

In it settlement with the FTC, InMobi will pay a $4 million civil penalty, which is suspended to $950,000 based on the company’s financial condition. In addition, the company will be required to delete all information it collected without permission.

 

 

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FTC & Florida sue alleged phony debt relief company

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The state of Florida and Federal Trade Commission have teamed up in a lawsuit against an alleged phony debt relief company that robocalled consumers.

According to the FTC, Life Management Services tricked people out of their money by offering two types of  bogus debt relief services, credit card interest rate reduction services and credit card debt elimination services. The business promised lower interest rates or government funds to pay off debt, and asked people to make initial payments  from $500 to $20,000.

However,  almost no one got the help that was promised.

In reality, the company sometimes made a basic attempt to contact the consumer’s credit card company. But consumers report that  were almost never able to obtain the promised rates or savings, the agencies said. As far the government funds, no such thing existed. The federal agency said consumers who paid  the up-front fee wound up deeper in debt with damaged credit scores and higher interest rates and late fees.

The complaint from the FTC said the scheme defrauded consumers out of more than $15.6 million since at least January 2013.

“Working jointly with the FTC, our actions to stop these schemes and hold the scammers responsible will not only keep Floridians from falling victim to these scams, but also protect consumers nationwide.” said Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.

A federal district court in Orlando has temporarily stopped the operation from making illegal robocalls and selling its services pending an upcoming hearing.

 

 

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ADT: Free security system promotion is not them

Has someone recently come to your home and tried to sign you up for a free security system? You may not be alone.

BBB has recently heard of reports in San Antonio and Austin about door-to-door salespeople and robocalls that have offered a free security system if the consumer signs up for security monitoring with ADT.

However, ADT has told BBB that they are currently unaware of any promotion from them or authorized third-party dealers offering a free system in exchange for signing up for monitoring.

Summer is a common time for scammers to pose as home security sales representatives since homeowners are more likely to be there to answer during the day.

So what’s the danger? You could end up giving away your personal and financial information to a stranger. Even worse, the scammer could also be a potential burglar who is scoping your house.

Here are some other tips you want to be aware of:

  • Know who you are buying from. Before you open your door or let anyone into your home, ask to see a photo ID, business card and some proof of the business they’re representing. Also, ask for a physical address and for local references.
  • Don’t give out information. If someone knocks on your door or calls you out of the blue, don’t give them any personal or financial information. If you want to take advantage of a promotion, contact the business directly.
  • Do your research. Look up the business online and get references from your friends, family, neighbors or from the company’s current clients. For a business you can trust, check out BBB’s Accredited Business directory at checkbbb.org.
  • Resist pressure to “buy now.” One sign of a security system scam is a sales representative that may pressure their way into your home and then refuse to leave. Don’t be pressured to take advantage of a time-sensitive offer, like “once in a lifetime” or “today only.” Take time to decide and ask for a sales representative’s business card to get more information at a later time.
  • Get written estimates. Ask plenty of questions, and find out who will perform the installation and monitor the system. Remember, don’t let anyone who hasn’t made an appointment into your home. If an estimation or installation needs to be done, call the business directly to make an appointment.

 

 

 

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Five suspects arrested for involvement in IRS scam

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TIGTA announced the arrest of five suspects for their involvement in an IRS scam that has collected an estimated $2 million from more than 1,500 victims.

Federal officials are accusing the five of making multiple calls while impersonating IRS agents or Treasury officials, telling victims they owed tax debts, and threatening arrests if payments weren’t sent immediately.

Victims were told to pay their tax debts through wire payments via MoneyGram, Walmart2Walmart and other money wiring services.

“These arrests indicate that TIGTA is making significant progress in our investigation of the IRS impersonation scam that continues to sweep the country, resulting in reported taxpayer losses of more than $36 million,” Treasury Inspector General J. Russell George said.

TIGTA officials said two of the individuals were arrested because  of information provided by a fraud investigator with the Aging Committee’s Hotline. The investigator followed up on an incident report filed by a victim in October 2015. The caller reported that her husband drove to a local Walmart store to wire $2,000 that the IRS agent demanded after threatening to arrest him.

The  victim crashed his car while en route, but was so worried that he left the accident scene to wire the money, said Sen. U.S. Senator Susan Collins, Chair of the Senate Special Committee on Aging.

The wire transfer was eventually traced to Minnesota and reported to TIGTA. TIGTA then sent agents to Minnesota, who pulled surveillance tapes and identified two suspects, which  led them to the three additional suspects.

“No legitimate United States Treasury or IRS official will demand that anyone make payments via MoneyGram, Western Union, Walmart–2–Walmart, or any other money wiring method, for any debt to the IRS or the Department of the Treasury,” George said.

The office identified the five suspects as Jennifer Valerino Nunez, Dennis Delgado Caballero, Arnoldo Perez Mirabal, Yaritza Espinosa Diaz, and Roberto Fontanella Caballero.

According to the TIGTA, the IRS impersonation scam has resulted in more than $36 million in taxpayer losses, averaging more than $5,700 in losses per taxpayer.

Here’s some tips to ensure you don’t fall for this common scam:

 

  1. Be wary if you are being asked to act immediately. Scammers typically try to push you into action before you have had time to think. The IRS will give you the chance to question or appeal what you owe.
  2. The IRS doesn’t call, text or email. The IRS won’t call about payment or overdue taxes without first contacting you by mail.
  3. Don’t wire money or use a prepaid debit card. Scammers often pressure people into wiring money or using a prepaid debit card. It’s like sending cash: once it’s gone, you can’t trace it. The IRS says it will never demand immediate payment, require a specific form of payment, or ask for credit card or debt card numbers over the phone.
  4. Contact the IRS directly. If you owe taxes or you think you might call 800.829.1040 or go to irs.gov. IRS employees at that line can help you with a payment issue, if there is an issue.
  5. If you know you don’t owe taxes. Report the incident to the Department of the Treasury at 800-366-4484 or tigta.gov.

 

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IRS impostors tricking students into paying for fake tax

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Have you heard of the “federal student tax”? Neither have we. But don’t worry because if you have, this may mean a scammer has tried to trick you into paying for a tax that doesn’t exist.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, impostors posing as IRS agents are telling students from various colleges they owe a so called “federal student tax”. To make the scam sound legitimate, scammers tell students personal information about themselves – including what school they attend.

The scammer demands the student to wire the money through a MoneyGram or another untraceable method. If you don’t do it immediately, the impostor will threaten to report you to the police. If you hang up, they might make follow-up calls with spoofed caller-ID information. The caller ID might say it’s 911 or the U.S. Government calling, but it’s not.

Remember, the IRS will never call you to ask for money. They will first send you a letter. If you get one of these calls, be sure to not give out any personal information and hang up.

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Tech support scam pops up in the Permian Basin

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BBB and the Midland Police Department are warning residents of a tech support scam that tricks you into allowing  remote access of your computer.

Here’s what’s happening.

Residents are receiving phone calls from an alleged Dell technician with a foreign accent who claims there is a problem with their computer. The scammer then requests remote access to fix it. However, in order to repair the computer immediately, the resident has to send money, usually by wire transfer.

But the computer won’t end up being fixed. Instead, the scammer installs malware on the computer, steals personal information or takes the money.

 

Your BBB and the Midland Police Department offers the following advice to avoid a tech support scam:

  • Do your research. Go online and research the person or business who is calling you. In some cases, scammers use technology – known as “spoofing” – to make it appear on Caller ID like the call originated from a real tech support company. If you’re questioning the legitimacy of the call, contact the business directly.
  • Watch out for red flags. These may include enrolling you in a maintenance or warranty program, asking for credit card information to bill you for their services, tricking you into installing malware that could steal sensitive data or directing you to websites in order to obtain your credit card number and other personal information.
  • Be cautious when giving control of your computer to a third party. Allowing a business to take remote control of your computer can open you up to fraud or various malware. Be sure to ask questions and don’t feel pressured into allowing a third party access to your computer. Also, never give control of your computer to someone who calls you out of the blue claiming to be from tech support.
  • Protect your personal information. Never provide your credit card, financial information or passwords to someone who calls claiming to be from tech suppor

To report this type of scam to BBB, click here.

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BBB Investigation: Consumer’s discounted vacation turns into expensive trip

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It was a deal too good to pass up for Betty Adams and her husband. To stay at a resort for five days in Cancun, all Adams would have to do is pay $496.99, book her own flight and attend a timeshare presentation. ClubBookIt, the company that allegedly made her reservation, would do the rest and even told Adams they would supply a taxi from the airport to the resort.

“They were so jolly on the phone,” Adams said.

But a fun trip to Mexico turned into what Adams called a frustrating series of events.

The taxi that was supposed to take Adams and her husband from the airport to the resort was never there. Instead, Adams paid for it.

After arriving at the hotel Adams tried to check-in, but the staff told Adams there was no record of a reservation with her or her husband’s name.

“They had never heard of us,” Adams said. “They had told us all these things like we would be met at the airport and there was nobody there.”

With no reservation in place for their trip, Adams said she paid for a one night stay. It was the second time that day she was forced to pay out of pocket for an expense she believed had been already taken care of. Not wanting to pay more money, Adams booked a return flight for the next day and took another cab back to the airport.

When she returned home, she called ClubBookIt to get some answers and a refund. Adams said she received neither.

“They told us we didn’t have a reservation because we didn’t give them our employment information, but we’re retired,” Adams said. “They then said we never gave them definite dates, but they emailed us a document with a supposed reservation.”

“They said there would be no refund and that it wasn’t their fault. The man on the phone was really nasty and aggressive,” Adams said.

In total, Adams claims to have lost close to $2,000.

BBB received complaints similar to Adams.

One complainant alleges they contacted the business, after paying upfront to book a resort reservations through ClubBookIt.com, and found out a reservation was allegedly never placed just prior to their planned trip. Some complainants also allege there was no record of a reservation after arriving to their booked resort. Complainants further allege they have difficulty reaching the business or receiving a callback regarding requested refunds for non-booked resort reservations.

BBB has contacted the business through email to discuss their complaints, but has yet to receive a response. Additionally, the business would not answer questions after BBB contacted it through the phone number listed on its website.

The company’s number was also listed on mystictravel.us and iigetaways.com, two different travel websites that have a domain registrant name of Thomas Cunningham and are allegedly located in Williamsville, New York. These two websites and ClubBookIt.com all share the same registrant email address.

The mailing address found for ClubBookIt.com was in Waco, but did not belong to the business. BBB confirmed the address listed on their website registration belongs to an unrelated business in Waco and have yet to receive a definite physical address.

If you are looking to travel to a resort or hotel, Better Business Bureau serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas, and the Permian Basin advises you to keep these tips in mind:

  • Be alert for travel scams. Unsolicited mail, emails, websites and calls offering deeply discounted travel packages could leave you out of a vacation and money. Watch out for scams saying that you have “won a trip.” If you have really won a free vacation, a legitimate company won’t ask you to pay any upfront or processing fees.
  • Get all vacation details in writing. Get all the details of your vacation in writing, including travel itineraries and booking confirmations before you leave. Get a copy of the company’s cancellation and refund policies. Be sure to verify your reservation with the hotel or resort directly. Ask the travel company to send contact information for any additional services like taxis or car rental agencies
  • Consider travel insurance. Travel insurance is designed to cover such things as trip cancellations or medical emergencies. The U.S. Travel Insurance Association maintains a list of licensed travel insurance companies. Certain travel companies have different policies and levels of coverage based on whether you purchase the car rental, flight or hotel. Ask questions, and always read the fine print to see what’s covered.
  • Pay with a credit card. A credit card gives you additional protection if something goes wrong with the travel reservation.
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