After a roofing company laid off all its employees at their Northeast Florida location and let other Florida and Georgia employees go as well, homeowners are now stuck with roofs sitting unfinished and, in some cases, liens are being placed on their homes.
The unexpected announcement left dozens of employees without thousands of dollars worth of payments and homeowners with unfinished roofing work.
Joseph Bacuro, an Honest Abe customer based in the Tampa area, said he is strapped financially because of this situation.
“Honest Abe Roofing was supposed to replace my roof and change a few of the flashing along the edges of the roof,” Bacuro said.
Bacuro said he paid $56,000 to the roofing company and took out a loan to pay. The news of the company letting workers go came as a big shock to him.
“I would love to know where the money was going,” Bacuro said.
Honest Abe is technically paid in full, and Bacuro is still responsible for making his $500 monthly payments.
“I haven’t slept. It’s making me crazy. Especially being that Honest Abe didn’t pay the supply company. So now the supply company has put a lien on my home. So that is killing me,” Bacuro said.
On Thursday, Bacuro was hit with a more than $17,000 lien on his home.
He said he still has leaks in his roof.
Former employees of Honest Abe told News4JAX hundreds of other customers could be in the same situation with dozens of contracts drawn up in the Jacksonville area last month.
News4JAX visited the Jacksonville office again on Friday, but no one was inside. Customers can’t get a response either.
“I have the owner’s personal phone number. They don’t even…the voicemail is full. And that’s it. They don’t answer the phone,” Bacuro said.
Tom Stephens with the Better Business Bureau said customers can do a couple of things if they’ve paid the company that seems to have stopped operations.
“One is complain to the State Attorney’s Office because that can eventually be elevated to fraud. And if they have access to a lawyer, they should probably file suit against him for the money. And I say that because if the company is out of business completely, it would not surprise me if bankruptcy is around the corner,” Stephens said.
Bacuro said he just wants the company to pay their bills.
“I mean, this wouldn’t be an issue if you paid, did what you’re supposed to do, pay your bills,” Bacuro said.
The BBB also said former employees of Honest Abe’s should file a complaint for unpaid wages with the Florida Department of Labor.
BBB also advised consumers never to pay more than 1/3 of the value of the contract upfront. If a contractor is asking you to pay more than half the money upfront, look somewhere else.