Customer dispute

Hey fellows,

I have been in business for about 10 months and have learned many lessons. I’m going through one right now. In the 2nd month of being in business I took on a repair without really knowing what I was getting into. I recommended to the homeowner to get a new roof. The roof is flat and ponds water, is under a wood deck built over it, has 2 or 3 failing layers, multiple leaks, Seattle weather, at the start of fall. It also has walls with wood posts going right through the roofing. The support posts go through the roofing with no roof cement around and were not placed on any kind of padding. To get to the repair I had to remove 28 rows of 1 x 4’s. Oh yeah, I had to go through his house and bring all my tools to the third story. Would have set up my ladder and parked in the back but there is a city alley there. I also had to move all of his things out of the way and work around plant pots with plants wrapping all around some kind of lattice. (just let them hang on set them on studs)

I couldn’t find any parking but paid parking a few blks away. I got a parking ticket while loading my tools so I could go pay for parking!

This job is one of the most frustrating things to me. The homeowner
said " make me an offer I can’t refuse " for repair.

I did some inner chest puffing and thought to myself “this will be frickin easy” so I told him I’d do it for 1k plus material.

Worked late hours 2 days and thought I had it done.

       (wrong answer)

I got about 95% of the leaks handled but one pesky one remains.

After 4 attempts to repair a wet roof I called the homeowner and said "how about this: we part ways for $500. " The homeowner said he would not accept this and wanted a full refund.

I said no 500.

Next thing I’m getting certified mail from his attorney. So I offered to go out and attempt to fix again. There response was two options:

  1. full refund
  2. attempt repair and if not successful on this attempt then full refund.

Now I personally don’t agree to either option but I do agree to do what is in the contract which is seal any possibilities of a leak.

I admit, I made a huge mistake by not chargin by the hour but I did spend between 35 and 40 hours on this project and here I am still f-ing with it. For 1k!!!

I am a registered contractor in WA and I feel like this butthole is trying to get out of paying me somehow and is threatening to file against my bond.

Am I obligated to give any Joe Blow a full refund of their money if they call for it at any time during work when they threaten to file a claim against my bond?

My insurance people told me my bonding co. can drop me until the dispute is settled.

This would mean I wouldn’t be a registered contractor any more.

I don’t feel this is right but should I jus give him his money back and have mutual sign-off of contract or tell him I will keep coming to repair per written contract. Can he still file against the bond?

Any input will help. Thank You Guys and Gals



Wow… I’m @ a loss here. Maybe in a day or two I can think up something.

In the meantime, TTT (to the top).

Some people are just jerks and will always want something for nothing. In my opinion, eat the 500 bucks, get him to sign off and consider it a lesson learned.

Unfortunately you will meet many people who want things done cheaply and for you to attempt repairs on things that are well beyond repair. You need to have clause/s on all your contracts! Sadly it will be trail and error that develop these clause wordings, lol. Maybe you should start a thread here and see if some of the more knowledgeable guys will share some of their contract clauses with you.

It’s sucks that you wasted so much time with this guy but it could have been much, much worse. Cut your losses and eat the 500 dollars, putting out a contract on the guy will cost you much more, heh. Money is money but you can’t buy “piece of mind”.

is this a new roof or a repair? if its a repair why in Hell would you guarantee it !? Nobody garantees repairs. You wont stay in businuss long unless you learn some common sence.



Give him his money back.

Walk away form it.

my repairs are guaranteed till the first got to know when to hold em and know when to foldem.another lesson learned.

I’ve learned now. All this leak chasing is diagnosis. I am involved in a commercial repair.

I said to these people that I can diagnose each leak for between 450-750 which may include repair. At the point of diagnosis we will determine how much repairs will cost if not already included.

I learned this from a man who was the regional service manager for Ford.

You guys are right.

I’m gonna go attempt to fix one more time because it’s the right thing to do but if not successful…fold and eat it.

I really appreciate the wisdom here.
I’m not bitter, just smarter. Thanks again for the wisdom.


he may need a new roof, they dont last forever.


He needs a new roof for sure but that would be expensive because of so many parts that tie in to the roof. This is a nightmare for the homowner and for a contractor because it was probably a dyi project and bad construction in too many ways. I just put cold process over the part with the leaks and it stopped almost all of them. One more leak is coming in so I’l go further with cold applied. Even if he opted for a new roof I wouldn’t do it for this cheapass.


You guys are right.

I’m gonna go attempt to fix one more time because it’s the right thing to do but if not successful…fold and eat it.

I really appreciate the wisdom here.
I’m not bitter, just smarter. Thanks again for the wisdom.


Wise man to accept it with grace. I know I’ve been burned in the past because of the learning curve.

It’s fixed. This person hasn’t called me back since my final visit. Thanks for the responses. I feel like I did the right thing and the customer is satisfied.

[quote=“RooferJ”]he may need a new roof, they dont last forever.


If the guys is gonaa be that way give him a bill for a intire new roof. That way he wont be able to pay for your services and then maybe he will pay.It really sound like he needs a entire new roof and from what youve done allready tell him and his attorney that the roof can be repaired unless he pays right up.Im sure if this went as far a court you would be able to convince the judge or whoever that he does need a new roof and that he wouldnt pay and could not afford your services.

Althouygh i think you kinda messed up on trying to give up on the roof.
You should have made it so that he had to pay or not get the repairs.
Remember he needs you more than you need him and that your services are not for free.
You will probally have to make ouit some sort of price sheet to show how much the roof would have costed and to show the attroney what the homeowner was getting into.
But when you come across people like this dont let thgem push you aroung. Think about how much his attorney is gonna cost him.
Let this be a lesson to the way you perform your business and a lesson on what needs to be done in the future so this is not a reoccuring experience.
Peace roofingbuster.

I learned… I learned.

so what happened. Did you do all the repair for free or are you going to court with the swindler?

I fixed everything without asking for more than what was stated on the contract.

He hasn’t called me back and it’s been raining like hell. This was an important lesson for me.

Sam, i did a similar job here in Boston - 2 sq. flat roof in the center of the house, with a deck over it… it is like a miniature swimming pool with a drain in the middle…

We however refused to repair, and installed an IB roof (pvc) there… 2 years past… no calls from the guy - i suppose it doesn’t leak :)) (btw, IB has a lifetime residential warranty and i use it on all my flat roofs.

Another thing, i turn down 99% of repairs… and people the go the repair route usually call me back in 6-12 months…
And one more thing, when customers want a Lexus for the price of Kia, send them to Kia dealership … i usually tell them that we don’t play a price game (like you get a 20% discount today…) our prices are honest and if i give discount it’s minimal, just to make them feel better.
Good luck to u

If I’m not 100% sure I can fix the leak(i.e. popped nail, ridge vent blown off, etc.) NO WARRANTY, If I’m sure, one year warranty.

If leak is not fixed with the no warranty clause,I’ll offer to replace the roof at retail, minus the amount of the already paid repair cost.