Cleveland man claims roofing company ripped him off, says surveillance video proves it

Updated: Jan. 8, 2020 at 10:55 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A Cleveland man claims a contractor ripped him off, and he says a video captured on his surveillance camera proves the handyman did not do the job.

After calling several Cleveland roofers, Dennis Smolinski was frustrated he couldn’t find anyone to come out and fix his leaking roof right away. So, he thought it was a sign when he saw First Quality Roofing and Tuckpointing advertised on the side of a truck.

“So, I thought okay, perfect!” Smolinski said.

He says video captured on surveillance cameras confirmed his suspicions.
He says video captured on surveillance cameras confirmed his suspicions.(Dennis Smolinski)

Smolinski says on the day the contractor was supposed to come do the job he called to cancel, saying it was too cold and he’d come back the next day while he was at work.

“I came home it was dark out,” Smolinski recalled. “I couldn’t see the chimney. I assumed that he did the job, so I went ahead and I paid him.”

The next day when he went out to look at the job, he was furious.

“It looked like someone just spray painted around the caulk,” Smolinski said. “So, then I went through my surveillance videos and sure enough it took him 15 minutes to take the ladder off of his truck. He went up to my roof with just a Home Depot bag, with what looks to be a can of flex seal. Fifteen minutes later he comes down with the same bag with no scrap material, nothing, hopped in his truck and left. That was it.”

Smolinski said he gave the company the benefit of the doubt.

“I felt ripped off,” he said. “So, I contacted him to see if I could get a hold of him because he said there was a 9-year warranty on his work. It was still leaking. I asked him to come out. He said he would come out and he said he did come out, but my cameras say different. He never showed up and then ignored my phone calls for a solid month.”

So, he looked up the company online and found a Facebook page that has since been deleted.

“Started to look up his phone number, found another website called Firestone Brothers; exact same information, address the same, email the same, completely different company. And then I also found a Craigslist ad for another company with the exact same wording, exact same phone number, same email address,” Smolinski said. “That’s when I got a little suspicious that he just has three fake companies that he’s just running around ripping people off.”

19 News looked up all three of these companies on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website and found nothing. We also went by the address listed for all three of these businesses, no one was there, but Smolinski claims he got the owner of the building on the phone.

“They said, ‘No, none of those companies are there,’” Smolinski said. “There are no roofers in that building whatsoever, they don’t exist, they’re not there.”

19 News’ Kelly Kennedy called the phone number listed for all three of these businesses, a man answered and told her he did not own or work for any kind of roofing or contracting company, and that she had the wrong number.

“It’s terrible I mean 15 minutes of work for $650,” said Smolinski. “I could’ve bought a can of plexyon and done that.”

Smolinski says he got frustrated and posted about the issue on Reddit. He says once the company got wind of it, they called him and promised him a refund, but then quickly changed their minds.

He claims the company even altered the original invoice to say that he only used silicone caulk. He sent 19 News both invoices.

Smolinski says he plans on filing a report with the police and the attorney general’s office.

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