On Your Side Investigation: Customers want refunds from Springfield roofing company

Published: Aug. 10, 2021 at 10:27 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2021 at 10:04 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - It sounded easy. A simple knock on the door from a stranger would lead to a roof repair. Instead, customers paid thousands, waited months and got nothing.

“I have a roof that needs to be replaced. It’s almost 20-years-old,” said John Cummins.

Same with his neighbor, Rhonda Miller.

“I was very upset. For like a week straight,” said Miller.

Back in January, they listened to a door-to-door sales pitch.

“I sat with them and we both contacted the insurance company together and they seemed pretty legitimate,” said Cummins.

They each paid $4,000. They were told crews would get to work in four to six weeks.

“The phone number wasn’t working. They did reach out to me a few times by email but it’s always we’ll come out later, a later date,” said Cummins.

Their contracts are different. Miller hired Overland Roof Exchange. Cummins hired Midwest Roofing Commercial and Residential. They had a feeling they hired the same company. They tried to arrange a meeting with the company reps at the same time.

“Conveniently both companies had employees sick,” said Miller.

Their instincts are right. According to state documents, both companies have the same address.

Four miles south of them in Springfield, Chris Tarnowieckyi’s 82-year-old father, Oktawian, hired Midwest Roofing Commercial and Residential. He gave them $9,000.

“On good days I think maybe they’re just business people who got in over their heads. On days that are not so good, it really hurts. Makes me pretty angry,” said Tarnowieckyi.

These customers filed complaints with the Missouri Attorney General. On Your Side went to the business address listed for both companies. The building is empty. It’s a leased property. On Your Side obtained photos of the lease. It reads - the tenant is Midwest Roofing, Glenn Jessen, Director of Operations.

You won’t find Jessen’s name on customer contracts or the LLC documents. But, On Your Side found court documents with his name on them. Ten years ago, the Colorado Attorney General sued Jessen and his roofing company then called, CSI. Court records say he used ‘deceptive and illegal means to lock consumers into doing business’. Nearly 500 customers paid an average of $3,500 and received no roof repairs. Jessen has a $6.5 million dollar judgment against him. He’s banned from working for any construction business that solicits door-to-door in Colorado. Jessen agreed to an on-camera interview.

“Is the 6 million paid?” Ashley Reynolds asked. “No. They’ve never tried to collect from me. I started paying some of it, but it’s a ridiculous amount. I can’t pay that,” said Jessen.

Jessen says he did not run from the state and it was an ‘unfortunate situation’.

We also found judgments against him under two other company names. Supply businesses want a total of more than $150,000.

“I’ve tried to start over. I’ve tried to have my own companies,” said Jessen.

Jessen says he has about 20 home projects pending in the Springfield area. He’s working out of this building in Ozark. He blames material shortages, severe weather and short staff. He says he’s not taken on new customers. He says he should be caught up in a few months.

“I could have packed up months ago. And said forget it. But these people need to be taken care of. You can make this look and sound however you want, but I’m looking at you in the eye and telling you, I’m not trying to run from things. I’m not trying to screw people over,” said Jessen.

These customers say they’ve asked for refunds. Chris Tarnowieckyi showed us an email he got on July 12. It’s from the Missouri Attorney General’s office, telling Midwest to give his father a refund in two weeks. Jessen told us he’s not aware of the email.

“I don’t know. If it came down, I’m sure they’re getting a refund,” he said. Jessen said it takes about ten days to process.

Tarnowieckyi says his father has not received a refund.

“We really sincerely want to make sure our customers are taken care of. I don’t need the stuff that has haunted me and caused me so much problems the last ten years. Every time I’ve tried to open, it shuts me down for one reason or another,” said Jessen.

There are a few companies in the Ozarks called Midwest. This report is about Midwest Roofing Commercial and Residential.

Be wary of door-to-door offers.

Always research a company and make sure they’re local.

Look for marked cars and logos.

Ask for proof of business license and insurance.

Compare three bids before you sign any dotted line.

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