Roofer Ripoff? News10NBC learns roofer is facing theft charges

December 15, 2017 08:39 PM

A Rochester grandmother reached out to News10NBC after she says she was ripped off by her roofer.  Now we’ve uncovered surprising information about the roofer.

82-year-old Olive Owens was told she was getting a metal roof that would last for decades. So she took out a loan and paid thousands. She says then her contractor disappeared, and she's sitting under a leaking roof. In August she hired Scott Pepson of Scott’s Painting and Chimney Sweep.  He charged her $10,000.

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"He didn't work,” said Owens. “They would come, put the ladder up, and within an hour, a half hour they were gone."

Four months later, Pepson still has not finished that roof. Owens paid him $5,000 up front. Then weeks later, Pepson showed up at Owens home claiming he needed another $2,500 to rent equipment. He promised he’d finish her roof the next week, but he never returned. Owens’ son, David Mendez, fears his mother has been ripped off. Already sheets of metal are coming off the unfinished roof. So News10NBC Investigative Reporter Deanna Dewberry did some digging.

She learned Scott Pepson was arrested in October for theft. Seneca County Sheriff's deputies say he had sticky fingers at an Ovid business. And records at the Romulus Town Court's office show he owes money to two other unhappy customers.  Records indicate he failed to pay judgments against him.

The Better Business Bureau says he hasn't responded to a host of customer complaints lodged with its office. The BBB gives Scott's Painting and Chimney Sweep an F.

"It's a difficult environment with general contractors,” said Gary Kirkmire, Director of Building and Zoning for the City of Rochester.  “They're not regulated at the state level."

But the City of Rochester does require roofers to get a permit. And Kirkmire says Pepson falsified his permit application. City inspectors also took a look at Pepson’s work on Owen’s unfinished roof. Kirkmire says the roof does not comply with International building codes.

Pepson refused an on-camera interview but told Dewberry by text "…you're making it seem like I robbed a little old lady (sic) in all actuality I have 6400 dollars in metal…"

When Dewberry asked him to show receipts proving what he'd spent on roofing materials, he refused to provide them. But he did make a promise to Owens’ son texting, “I'm doing everything I possibly can to make this right (sic) going to take me about a month or so. That's my word as a human."

So far, Olive Owens sits under a rotting roof facing a forecast of more snow and rain. Kirkmire says this serves as a lesson for all of us.

“You have to as a consumer, you have to exercise your rights to investigate any contractor that you're going to engage in a contract with,” said Kirkmire.

As for Scott Pepson, News10NBC learned he's due in court in Ovid next week on an unrelated charge of petit larceny.  Meanwhile, the City of Rochester trying to see what it can do to help olive get a new roof.

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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