PENDLETON, Ind. – A woman whose house was damaged in the May 2019 tornado says she is still dealing with the aftermath.
Rita Teeters was out to eat with her granddaughter when the tornado hit. She rushed home and found the rubber roofing and aluminum siding on her childhood home had blown away.
“I saw my neighbor’s yard. There was rubber roofing over there, but I didn’t realize it was mine until we came around to the back of the house and realized most of the shingles and the rubber roofing had come off the back of my house,” she said.
Teeters, like dozens of other homeowners, called her insurance company, which provided her with $26,000 to make repairs. After reading reviews and consulting with the Better Business Bureau, Teeters hired Paul Davis Restoration to do the work.
“They made several mistakes and caused a lot more damage at different times,” she said. “Then, they had to come back to fix it all again.”
In May 2020, Teeters noticed her siding was starting to warp and shrink. There were big gaps between the pieces and it was happening in several areas around the property.
“I texted, I called and left voice messages, and finally I sent an email,” she recalled. “After the email, I got my first response back. They told me that It was due to extreme heat and it was probably due to having a barbecue grill up there. I never had a barbecue grill up there, so I don’t know why they made that reference.”
Teeters sent a certified letter to Paul Davis Restoration, but never heard back after that.
In November, she showed CBS4 where the siding was also shrinking on her garage. Each of the pieces that were damaged appeared to be on the same side of the house.
“It’s their name out there. I don’t know if it’s the product? Is it the painting? Is it installation?” she asked. “All I know is winter is coming and the siding is coming off my house.”
Teeters wanted Paul Davis Restoration to come back and replace the siding. She called the CBS4 Problem Solvers wanting to know what her options were.
CBS4 called the company and spoke with the representative who serviced Teeters. Keith Christopher confirmed he returned in the spring of 2020 to perform warranty work related to the rubber roof and a leak that occurred in Teeters’ sunroom, but claimed when it came to the siding, the house had both vinyl and aluminum on it to begin with. He insisted the company replaced the siding appropriately.
“The repairs we made were to the agreed upon scope of work with the insurance company and all of the siding was painted to match the existing color with the exception of the part of the front elevation of the house,” he wrote in an email. “Zach Arvin visited the property, performed a moisture test on the ceiling and a visual inspection and found no leaks or any signs of moisture. In addition, he looked at the siding and determined that he appeared to be melted. He explained his findings to Rita at the time. The claim that the siding shrank because it was painted is without merit and if it had shrank due to painting would have affected all the siding that was painted and not just the small area on the sunroom wall at the rear elevation deck.”
On the phone, Christopher told CBS4 the shrinking was “not due to faulty craftsmanship or material defects, therefore it was not something that was covered under warranty.”
CBS4 spoke with an attorney about that. James Nehf, a professor at IUPUI’s McKinney School of Law, said unless a company clearly states in its contract that it doesn’t guarantee its materials or workmanship – and that should be a red flag – then Indiana law provides a two-year, if not indefinite, warranty.
“They cannot get out of their responsibilities by just saying, ‘Well, you signed off on the contract therefore you waived all of your rights and were off scot-free.’ That’s just not right,” Nehf explained.
Nehf suggested that Teeters take the company to small claims court. Hoosiers, he said, typically don’t need a lawyer to defend them in such cases. Rather, consumers only pay a filing fee. A judge would review the evidence a person has including the contract and before and after photos and then make a ruling.
The Better Business Bureau, meanwhile, suggests people in similar situations leave a review on their website.
“Having a complaint is not necessarily a bad thing for a business. What a business wants to make certain they do is answer that complaint,” Tim Maniscalo explained. “If she does have something she wants to remedy, please file a complaint with us and we will follow up on that.”
Teeters said she has since filed a complaint with the BBB and the Attorney General’s Office.