Fair Go: Couple left thousands of dollars out of pocket after being let down by a dodgy roofer and insurance company

By One News / TVNZ (Fair Go) and is republished with permission

What do you do when you think you have done everything right but it’s still not enough to protect your property?

Shane and Odette Perry employed Jamie Hartnett to reroof their house. Source: Fair Go (screenshot)

That’s the unenviable position Shane and Odette Perry found themselves in last year when they fell prey to a dodgy local roofer.

The Temuka couple employed Jamie Hartnett to reroof their house – a gracious old homestead on the outskirts of town.

The Perry’s had scrimped and saved to buy the recognised 1904 Canterbury house and spent years lovingly restoring it.

But the house’s old decramastic tile roof was badly damaged in a freak hail storm that hit mid-Canterbury in late 2019.

Insurers AMI paid out and the Perry’s hired local roofer, Jamie Hartnett, from Ridgeline Roofing, to reroof their home.

First though, the cautious couple thoroughly checked out the roofer’s work.

They drove past homes he’d reroofed, checked out Hartnett’s credentials on MBIE’s register of licensed trade practitioners and took out special insurance with AMI in case anything went wrong.

“We’d watched a Fair Go programme previously about someone in exactly our position,” Odette says. “Where a roof was being replaced and the woman didn’t have works cover.”

As an additional precaution the Perry’s paid $800 for the additional cover.

The job hadn’t been underway very long when things started to go wrong. An unforeseen delay halted work for a month. When work re-started, Jamie Hartnett was not reliable – often failing to turn up or working 4-5 hour stints when he did.

Things really took a turn for the worse though when Shane Perry climbed up to do some painting around the eaves.

He and his wife had assumed that despite the holdup the work was progressing well.

Shane’s inspection turned up an unpleasant surprise and after an seeking expert opinion, the Perry’s followed advice and put a stop on the work.

A thorough investigation found a raft of issues wrong with the workmanship including :

– not enough support for the new roofing iron
– poor coverage of building paper needed to keep water out
– substandard edging
– badly attached guttering
– flashing was missing

Making matters even worse, the use of incorrect screws had irreparably damaged the new roofing iron, meaning the house would need to be re-roofed again!

Meantime, Jamie Hartnett didn’t respond to the Perry’s calls or texts and hasn’t been at their property since.

It was after this setback that the Perry’s received even more bad news.

They learned that Jamie Hartnett had been declared bankrupt in 2019 and that their AMI policy was not the safeguard they had thought it was.

The insurer initially refused to pay out on the Special Works Policy because the work was unfinished.

When Fair Go queried AMI’s position, the insurer claimed the policy did not cover faulty workmanship and the Perry’s had been made aware of that.

Fair Go has a copy of an email from Odette Perry specifically asking AMI: “Can we get insurance cover for when work is being done? After watching Fair Go we are aware of the importance of having extra cover while work is being carried out. The work will be carried out by a licensed roofer.”

It was after this that AMI issued the Special Works policy. Fair Go is aware of a number of phone calls between the Perry’s and AMI so the programme requested transcripts of the conversations in an attempt to find out why the Perry’s thought the re-roofing work would be covered when AMI clearly did not.

AMI initially agreed to release the transcripts to Fair Go but the documents have still not arrived. However, an inspection team from AMI did arrive at the Perry’s home to assess the roof and discuss the situation.

Sadly, Fair Go is not privy to anything further between the couple and AMI, but Odette Perry did email Fair Go offering a hint of positive news.

“Thank you again Fair Go, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel and give a heartfelt thank you to everyone involved with helping us to move forward.”

Fair Go hopes that means that a warm dry winter is in store for the Temuka couple.

However, Fair Go regrets not being able to report the final outcome in detail so other consumers can avoid the stress endured by the Perry’s – who were, after all, simply a couple trying to do the right thing.

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