KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Diana Clarke thought luck had landed on her Waldo doorstep in the form of a repairman offering to patch her leaky roof.
“I said, ‘How much?'” Clarke recalled. “He said $200 to patch it with a piece of expensive covering. I said, ‘Yes, lets do it.'”
The man at her door seemed so kind that she also confided to him her furnace wasn’t working and she needed a new flue pipe. She told him she couldn’t afford the last $1,200 estimate she’d received.
He told her could do the work for $300. A thrilled Clarke ran to the bank and handed over $500 in cash for both the roof repair and the flue pipe.
But within an hour, the repair guy said he would need more money. He said her roof needed to be braced and he’d need to spray for mold. Clarke said she told him she didn’t have any more money.
“‘Well, we are going to help you out,'” Clarke said she was told.
That’s when Clarke said he asked for any debit or credit cards she might have. She handed them over thinking there wasn’t hardly any money on any of them.
But she was wrong.
That’s how a $500 home repair ended up costing Clarke more than $3,000. She said she didn’t even realize how much money they’d removed from her bank account until she received an overdraft notice from her bank.
Plus, if you look at Clarke’s home, it’s hard to understand where all the money went. Her new flue pipe appears taped together. Her furnace still isn’t working, and that repair on her roof is just a tarp. A neighbor had to put bricks on it because it was starting to fly away.
And it gets worse.
The repairman keeps coming back to her house and angrily knocking on her door — something the camera on her door bell recorded. The repairman claims Clarke owes him another $1,500 for all the work he’s done.
If she doesn’t pay: “They are going to take my house,” Clarke said. “They are going to take everything I own. They are going to put a mechanics lien on my car.”
She said that twice, when she was pulling out of her driveway, the repairman and his crew pulled up behind her so she couldn’t get out.
They only let her go because she told them she was headed to the bank to get the cash. Instead, she went to police, accusing the company of defrauding the elderly.
“I’m just really tired,” Clarke said. “I want it to be over.”
FOX4 Problem Solvers did a little digging on the company Clarke hired: All American Roofing in Osceola (Not to be confused with All-American Roofing in Olathe). It’s run by Kenneth Collins and his sons, Stephen and Ken Jr. All of them have criminal records.
Problem Solvers couldn’t find a Kansas City business license for the company. It also wasn’t registered with the Missouri Secretary of State’s office.
We asked Top Notch Heating and Cooling out of Leawood to check out the work on Clarke’s sketchy looking flue pipe. The news wasn’t good.
“The double wall vent should lock together, but it was just crammed in,” said Matt Arenholz, field operations manger.
Arenholz said the work was so poorly done, that Clarke is lucky that carbon monoxide hadn’t started leaking.
Pyramid Roofing took a look at the repairs to Clarke’s roof. New joists had been placed under her roof by All American Roofing, but the only repair to the top of the roof was that tarp — a temporary fix that won’t last more than a few months.
“There’s a lot going on up there that needs to be corrected for it to be a legitimate repair,” said Heath Chitwood with Pyramid.
FOX4 then called Kenneth Collins to get his side of the story. We told Collins about all the problems we’d found. He said we were “full of s**t” and hung up.
Just another reason to add Kenneth, Stephen and Ken Jr. to the FOX4 Problem Solvers Hall of Shame.
Here’s the good news: Pyramid agreed to repair the roof for free, so Clarke will no longer have to rely on a tarp to protect her. Top Notch offered to remove and replace that dangerous flue pipe for free, too.
“We try to help out when we find someone like this who is in need,” Arenholz said.
The company also gave her furnace a complete cleaning. And for the first time in more than two months, she has heat.
Clarke said the whole experience has taught her a valuable lesson about who to trust in home repairs. It’s rarely ever the company knocking on your door.