Feazel Roofing Responds To Misleading Junk Mail Accusations

Last week, we wrote about a roofing company that had sent out a “Defective Roof Notice” to potential customers. The blogger who received the junk mail thought it was deceptive, and so did we. To make matters worse, he wrote a complaint to the company and was ignored—but a few weeks later a fake “customer review” appeared on his site that was traced back to Feazel. Now the owner of Feazel Roofing has responded and apologized for the junk mail:

Obviously, the real message got lost in “sales language” – the piece went way overboard, and I should not have allowed it. Therefore, it was my mistake, and I sincerely apologize.

We think this is excellent, except for one thing: he never addresses the “customer review” that came from his company’s IP address. Hopefully, though, he’s learned that it’s risky to engage in bad behavior anonymously online (and since we don’t know who left the comment, it’s hard to blame Mike directly anyway).

Here’s the full letter from Feazel Roofing:

Monday, June 16, 2008

To the administrator and readers of holyjuan.com and consumerist.com, and whomever else it concerns:

From our headquarters in Westerville, Feazel Roofing Company has been a leader in the roofing business in Greater Columbus for over 20 years. Great service to our clients has built this company, and keeping our entire team focused on that, everyday, will be one of the keys to our future growth and success.

Of course we provide full roof replacement services when necessary, but our company is very much focused on the service and maintenance of existing roof systems. We believe that this is a unique approach to this industry, because many contractors might try to recommend a more expensive roof replacement before it is necessary. However, we have found that with consistent maintenance and preventative care, a well-designed roof system can last much longer then expected.

In regards to the recent Blog post concerning the March 3rd direct mail marketing piece that you received, let me start by saying that I strongly agree with many of your opinions. I must admit, you’re not the only person which it upset, as I received a few other calls with the same concerns. The original marketing piece in question was designed by a 3rd party direct mail company. Fortunately, the letter was only sent as a test to a small group of individuals. While the language in this marketing piece was quite strong, the main message was supposed to be this, and these are quite verifiable facts: CertainTeed Corporation is the defendant in multiple class action lawsuits currently in process in 16 states (including Ohio), and further litigation pending in 8 other states and Canada. The lawsuits cover several different brand names of shingles manufactured since 1987, all of which have demonstrated premature curling, cracking, or de-granulation.

Here is a simple explanation of the CertainTeed Legal activity:

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/features/certainteed-shingles.html

I paid an ad agency to write the letter because I didn’t know the best way to go about educating homeowners on this issue. Obviously, the real message got lost in “sales language” – the piece went way overboard, and I should not have allowed it. Therefore, it was my mistake, and I sincerely apologize.

We do offer free preliminary estimates for all services that our company performs, including repair and replacement. However, we also charge a $179 fee for a full roof inspection. This is a more detailed and time-consuming written report, which may include pictures of any damages found, detailed measurements and multiple courses of action to remedy any concerns. We also offer this service to business partners in the Home Inspection and Real Estate industries. Our inspection pricing is very much in line with what other companies of our size charge for this service, but we always rebate the fee if any work is found during our inspection, which we do find some about half of the time.

We were offering a discounted fee of $49 for a limited time, thinking that we could perform numerous inspections in one area, saving on gas and drive time. This aspect was my idea, not the marketing company who wrote the letter.

Everything else you stated on your original Blog Post is accurate for 99% of the cases we come across with defective shingles. 100% of the CertainTeed Horizon shingles installed were defective, and are installed on thousands of homes in Central Ohio. If your shingles are defective, your home will not collapse overnight, and more often than not, water isn’t currently entering the home. However, we have had more than a handful of cases in which water has entered walls just a few years after installation, causing mold growth and other severe interior damage.

For anyone who would happen to read this who knows that they have a CertainTeed shingle installed on their home, I suggest contacting an attorney. The law firm’s website I’ve been referring homeowners to is www.halunenlaw.com but there are numerous others working on this case which can be found if you search “CertainTeed class action” in your favorite internet browser.

I would like to close by saying again that I apologize for allowing this type of “scare tactic marketing” to be sent from my company. However, I also want to state that we will continue to educate the marketplace on this issue. The shingle manufactures don’t send out a recall letter (like you might get from an auto manufacturer). Left unaddressed, problems may arise, and in some cases the problems can become catastrophic if not found in time.

Sincerely,
Mike Feazel, President
Feazel Roofing Company, Inc.

“Feazel Roofing takes the high road” [HolyJuan]

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. rmz says:

    I would applaud them for taking responsibility, but I know that this is only happening because they got called on it.

  2. AnderBobo says:

    @rmz: Meh, as is the case with most Consumerist “success” stories, a shallow victory.

  3. rjgnyc says:

    I applaud him for both apologizing and getting consumerist to post the full email which included tons of free advertising.

  4. @rmz: Does the why really matter that much when someone actually takes responsibility for something? I’ve never thought so, as long as I felt it was honest and full. This meets both of those requirements. Stating that he only fixed it because somebody bitched about it enough is sorta like saying you only grease the squeaky wheel…which we do. I would never have expected a company to change something nobody complained about.

  5. Rippleeffect says:

    @rmz: True, but they were really only made aware of their own error when somone brought it to their attention. Isn’t this the case with most errors?

  6. scoobydoo says:

    Well written and sincere apology.

  7. dorianh49 says:

    But they still haven’t taken FULL responsibility, since they didn’t address the “anonymous” comment.

  8. muffinpan says:

    He did not address the false customer review. That was his first attempt to cover up his junk mail fiasco. If he ever quits the roofing business he would make a good used car salesman. Same ethics apply to both buinesses.

  9. Parapraxis says:

    kudos to them for giving the mea culpa, but the nagging question in the back of my mind is, did the ad agency write the response?

  10. MeOhMy says:

    @valarmorghulis: I agree…in fact if we take him at his word, he did not interpret the ad the way others did. If no one complained, of course he would neither change the ad nor apologize – if I honestly believe what I’m doing is OK, I can’t correct the issue unless someone tells me it’s not OK.

  11. Juggernaut says:

    I run these “third party mailing” promotions before. Unless Feazelbub is a complete idiot he would have received copy for approval prior to printing and mailing… And they never just run a test market – that would almost defeat the purpose of direct mailing savings.

  12. Juggernaut says:

    Sorry, I’ve run…

  13. Juggernaut says:

    Not only tried to scam homeowners but then scammed Consumerist to print a 700 word(?)retraction which included his entire sales pitch… shame on you for falling for this!

  14. mike says:

    @valarmorghulis: I think the company did a good job here. The company admitted to making a mistake. That’s a great start.

    I don’t think this was a retraction with a sales pitch. The letter addresses the ads, explains the confusion, and offers their explanation.

    I accept the explaination and hope they do a better job next time.

  15. LikwidFlux says:

    This isn’t much different than the “Important information about your defaulting mortgage” when all they are doing is trying to sell a life insurance policy.

  16. mmstk101 says:

    I think it was really well written letter, and at least seemed sincere, which is a step up from most companies.

    I still wouldn’t hire them, but a good letter nonetheless.

  17. WiglyWorm must cease and decist says:

    However, I also want to state that we will continue to educate the marketplace on this issue.

    Well… I’m going to with hold my judgement for now. the original marketing was obviously sleezy, but the appology seems sincere. However, someone able to be sleezy enough to send out the original advert could easily fake sincerity in an appology letter.

    I would very much like to see this story followed up on so we can see the nature of this “further education”. If it takes place in a honest anf forthright manner, then all is forgiven IMHO. If not, then we know we’ve been dealing with a scum bag company this whole time.

  18. Seems reasonable.

    I would never hire a roof inspector, and if I did, I would never hire an inspector that also performs the repairs….. kind of like getting a second opinion from a surgeon before the first surgeon removes both of your testicles.

  19. @Corporate-Shill: kind of like getting a second opinion from a surgeon before the first surgeon removes both of your testicles.

    Uh, how is it like that?

  20. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @heavylee-again: Because some people get shingles on their testicles.

  21. MisterE says:

    That’s nice they apologized, but I still don’t trust them. A quick check of the BBB reveals:

    “The BBB processed a total of 6 complaints about this company in the last 36 months, our standard reporting period. Of the total of 6 complaints closed in 36 months, 1 was closed in the last year.”

    Given this record and questionable marketing tactics, I would use another roofer.

  22. dualityshift says:

    @rmz:
    The ONLY reason companies do this sort of ‘clarification’ is because they get called on ‘it.’ First and foremost, a company exists to make money. If your feelings get hurt for some reason, or you feel ripped off, no company cares unless they are called on it.

    That being said, these roofers are as crooked as they come.

  23. newfenoix says:

    Total BS. First off, an ad agency does NOTHING without the customers approval. That means that fuzzy knew about this crap from the get go. And he probably wrote the ad himself.
    Second, the contractor or customer is responsible for the contents of an ad, not the ad agency. Fuzzy tried to blame the ad agency which is stupid.

  24. coren says:

    @newfenoix: He’s not denying he had them write it or that he knew about it. He’s just suggesting the wording was theirs, which I don’t doubt it was – to him it might not have been a problem since this is his area of expertise.

  25. revmatty says:

    @muffinpan: Odd thing about the used car salesman trope. I’ve bought 5 cars from used car dealers and 3 new cars from dealers. Other than the Saturn experience I would trust an independent used car dealer long before anyone at a dealership that primarily sells new cars. I only got shafted on one of the used car deals and that was my fault for being overly enamored of the car in question.