MILWAUKEE (WITI) — If you're a homeowner, you know the overtime you'll eventually need to make repairs -- especially if there's storm damage. But, beware of storm chasing contractors. Several Milwaukee families hired the wrong company.
All Around Contracting out of Appleton had been all around Wisconsin chasing storms and telling homeowners, like LaDonna and Alford Brown, it could help.
"The guy came up and said, 'Yeah, we do siding and I was looking at your house. We are in the neighborhood — canvassing the neighborhood,'" LaDonna Brown said.
Back in November, FOX6's Contact 6 reporter, Katrina Cravy, went looking for "that guy" LaDonna was talking about — owner Nick Davis. Katrina showed up at the All Around Contracting office in Appleton in November, but couldn't find Nick.
After the original story about All Around Contracting aired, Contact 6 received five more complaints about the company. In the complaints, all the stories were the same.
"In June, we had this big hail storm. I mean, it was rocking the house. I got out and look and I saw more damage. And, while I was looking, here comes Nick," explained Eric King.
Eric and his wife, Wendy King, say Nick was a smooth talker and they trusted him. They signed a contract for more $15,000 and paid him $4,500 upfront. But, when the crew came — the work was horrible.
"I called him and said we got water damage. He brought some guy out here with a glue gun — went up there and started gluing it," Eric said when describing the work done on his roof.
Then, just like the Browns, All Around Contracting, Nick Davis and his crews couldn't be reached.
The place has closed.
Five customers have filed complaints with the state's Consumer Protection Department and while it can't comment on possible open investigations — it does have some advice.
"Ask for references. Call Consumer Protection to see if there are any complaints on file against a contractor. Go see other job sites from those references. Look online for circuit court access see if there's been any small claims actions against a contractor and weigh all that information," suggested Michelle Reinen, Director of the Wisconsin Consumer Protection Bureau.
Eric and Wendy King are using some friends to fix their home and, luckily, didn't pay All Around Contracting the full amount. It's been a costly, but valuable lesson.
"We will be alright, but …some folks out there that aren't going to be alright because he had a lot of business," Eric said.
At LaDonna and Alford Brown's home, work is being done, but this time by contractors like Allrite Home & Remodeling.
"I've got a few of my guys that are helping out plus MATC is supporting in this project as well. Callen Construction is helping out. There's also a few other companies that have also been involved with this," said Randy Miller of Allrite Home & Remodeling.
After the last story aired, Katrina Cravy called NARI - the National Association of the Remodeling Industry's Milwaukee Chapter - to see if they could help and they came through.
Besides getting out the team of volunteers, the NARI Foundation also voted to give LaDonna and Alford up to $6,000 for the materials to complete the job.
"Overall, I am kind of overwhelmed, of not just the professionalism of the men that came out here, but the work. Their talent just shows off. They just come in and do their work. They're very conscientious, very kind and that was something we had not experienced," Alford said.
"I'm very appreciative and just writing that one paragraph and you opening up your heart and your camera crew and your team," LaDonna said about Contact 6.
Remember to do your homework before hiring contractor because it's not often you get such a happy ending like the Browns.