Ill. AG Tracks Down ‘Storm Chaser’ Roofing Company

June 17, 2005

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has filed suit against a Cook County roofing company that last year allegedly swept into neighborhoods damaged by recent storms and accepted nearly $49,000 in deposits and total payments for roofing and siding projects that were either never started or never completed.

Madigan’s Consumer Fraud Bureau has received 22 consumer complaints against PHI Exteriors Inc., and company president Mason Kim, of Schaumburg.

So far, Kim has reportedly failed to refund money to any complainants.

“Storm chasers swoop in and promise to deliver homeowners from the stress caused by a storm or natural disaster,” Madigan said. “Unfortunately, the storm chasers sometimes succeed in bilking distraught homeowners who naturally want things fixed and back to normal as soon as possible.”

Madigan’s lawsuit charges Kim and his company with violations of both the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and the Home Repair and Remodeling Act. The suit also charges PHI and Kim with failing to provide consumers with the mandatory notice of consumers’ three-day right to cancel and a copy of the home repair consumer’s rights pamphlet.

According to Madigan’s lawsuit, in July 2004, a Streamwood homeowner contracted with PHI for repairs to his roof and siding that were damaged by hail. The defendants allegedly said they would negotiate with the homeowner’s insurance company to secure payment for the repairs. The consumers were reportedly never informed that Kim and PHI were neither licensed adjusters nor authorized to negotiate with insurance companies.

Later, the consumer signed over a check from his insurance company to the defendants for $3,536.22. Kim and PHI have refused requests for a refund and the work has not been completed.

Also in July 2004, a Streamwood couple was approached at their home and told that hail damage could be repaired at no cost to them if they signed a contract that same day. Again, the contract reportedly failed to disclose that PHI was neither a licensed adjuster nor authorized to deal with insurance companies. Between September and November of last year, the couple signed over checks totaling $4,120.82 from their insurance carrier to pay PHI for the job.

PHI completed work on the Streamwood couple’s home. However, three months later, in December 2004, the couple received a letter from a Wisconsin building supply store informing them that PHI had reportedly failed to pay for materials used during repairs to their home and that the supply store had placed a lien in the amount of $1,570.74 on their residence.

A Hoffman Estates consumer also was approached by the defendants last July and was told they would negotiate with his insurer to replace his roof and repair damaged siding. The consumer signed over in full a check from his insurer for $4,736.42. While his roof was replaced, the consumer is reportedly still waiting on siding repairs and numerous demands for a refund or for the job to be completed have been ignored.

Madigan’s suit seeks to have the Cook County Circuit Court prohibit the defendants from engaging in home repair and remodeling and insurance claim adjustments, revoke their roofer’s license and rescind any contract entered into fraudulently.

In addition, the lawsuit seeks a civil penalty of $50,000 and additional penalties of $50,000 per violation found to be committed with the intent to defraud.

Finally, Madigan’s lawsuit asks the court to order the defendants to pay restitution to consumers.

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