After getting paid in August, contractor still hasn't finished Rochester woman's roof

December 07, 2017 08:10 PM

Every time we have snow in the forecast, one Rochester homeowner gets really nervous. That's because she needs a new roof. She thought she would have one by now. After all, she paid a contractor in August. When he failed to finish the job, she Dialed Deanna.

You need look no further than the second floor of Olive Owen's home to know there's trouble. Peeling paint and plaster point to the obvious - she needs a new roof.  She hired Scott Pepson, the owner of Scott's Painting and Chimney Sweep. He said he could install a metal roof.


Olive Owens recalls he said, “’Oh, this is the best roof - 45 year. And so on and so forth.’”

Owens says he promised that 45-year-roof for $10,000, a fraction of what other roofers were charging. But he wanted half up front, so 82-year old Owens had to take out a loan. She gave him the money on August 22.

"When they come they didn't work” Owens said. ”They would come, put the ladder up and in less than an hour they would come down, and they were gone."

It's been more than three months, and Scott Pepson still hasn't finished the roof. Only the back of the house has some metal sheets, and Owen’s son, David Mendez, is angry.  In text messages, Pepson promised Mendez he was going to finish the roof. In one text message he said, “Will be there Wednesday.”  Another text message reads, “Will be there Tuesday morning to do roof.” One of the last text messages from Pepson reads, “Will be done no later than November 29.” He never showed up.

Finally, he turned up in October and asked Owens for $2,500 more to rent equipment. He said he’d return the next week and finish the roof. But Owens says Pepson took her check and never came back.

Scott Pepson refused an on-camera interview but talked to News10NBC consumer investigator Deanna Dewberry by phone.  He said he hadn't finished Owens’ house because of rain.

"I looked at how much rain we had. We had 22 days in September where we had not a drop of rain. Are you aware of that?" Dewberry asked Pepson. Dewberry reminded him that October was also dry.

So then Pepson claimed he was backed up because spring rain. He insisted he had always intended to finish Owens’ house.

But Scott's Painting and Chimney Sweep has an F rating with the Better Business Bureau.

Now Owens is concerned about the quality of Pepson’s work. Already sheets of metal are coming off the portion of Owens’ roof.  So Dewberry asked city inspectors to take a look.

"It looks to us like he put it over existing two layers of roof which is against the code," says Gary Kirkmire, the Director of Buildings and Zoning for the City of Rochester. In fact, in his permit application, Scott Pepson was asked whether he would remove the existing roof.  He answered yes.

"He falsified his application," said Kirkmire. And for the homeowner, those code violations could have dangerous consequences.  Owens says this has been a tough lesson learned.  What’s her advice for other homeowners?

“Do your research,” she said.

Neither the state nor the city regulates general contractors.  The most the city can do is flag any future permit application from Scott Pepson or his business, Scott's Painting and Chimney Sweep. If Pepson applies for another permit, the city will closely monitor his work. The big lesson for homeowners, ask for a copy of the permit and application. Read that application, and make sure your contractor complies with what he promised.

Here’s Deanna’s Do List for choosing a contractor.

     1. Get at least 3 bids.
     2. Do a background check, like checking the Better Business Bureau.
     3.  Ask for proof of insurance.
      4. Get a written contract.  The Better Contractors Bureau has provided an example of what it should look like.
      5.  Never pay full price up front.  The BBB suggests pay a third up front, a third in the middle, and a third at completion.
.     6. Report problems to the BBB, the Attorney General’s Office or the Better Contractors Bureau.


Deanna Dewberry

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