John Sawyer's in-laws hired Best For Less Home Improvements to fix the roof on their dream home of 20 years in Eaton Rapids. They paid up front in full-- $12,900 dollars including materials-- and all they have to show for it is a big blue tarp. Two rainstorms later they have damage to several areas of their house.
"Because it wasn't tarped properly," says Sawyer. "Two-thirds of the roof has been removed and maybe a tenth has been shingled."
That's how it was left on Friday.
Sawyer is trying to settle the situation while his in-laws are on vacation. But workers wouldn't show him their proper building credentials or proof of insurance the last time they were there and he can't get the owner of the company, Antroy Nathan, to come out and look at the damage.
But he did come across the name Mark Austin on the contract.
"I did a couple jobs for him," Austin told me.
Austin, who owns Austin Roofing, used to work with Nathan and claims he still owes him $6,000 dollars.
"He's not paying his suppliers, he's not paying his laborers and he's not giving his customers what they want," says Austin. "So you got three strikes your out and the state of Michigan is still letting him do this work."
I checked on Nathan's company Best For Less and found a complaint with the Better Business Bureau from earlier this year for $3,000 paid up front and the customer got no contract. The customer requested the money back and must have gotten it, because the complaint was resolved.
The State Attorney General's office sent me copies of three complaints filed against Best For Less. Two were similar to Sawyer's-- work delayed by weather and work not done properly. The other was filed by Mark Austin.
The Eaton County Building Inspector also confirmed a complaint has been filed over the job in Eaton Rapids.
"Everyone here was just shaking their heads," Sawyer says of his family's reaction after the rains came this week. "'Oh, what do we do now? It's ruined,' thought my mother-in-law. The house is ruined."
We spoke with Antroy Nathan and his attorney late Thursday evening for the story.
"I got like 50 pictures of it," Nathan explained of the situation at the house in Eaton Rapids. "I already told him we'll resolve it. We'll paint, put up all new insulation-- so he's happy with it."
"Antroy's working on some of his business habits," said Joe White, Nathan's attorney. "We had to get some of his contractual language lined up better so he doesn't have these miscommunications with his customers."
"The nature of construction is sometimes you're going to have troubles, sometimes you're going to have weather issues, but he's always going to finish the job."
If that's the case, it will be a weight off Sawyer and his family's shoulders.
"They don't have a lot of money to go out find someone else to take care of this roof," said Sawyer.