Dish Installer Made My Roof Leak, Caused $20K Of Damage

An anonymous reader in Colorado says Dish Network broke her house while installing equipment on her roof. She says the destructive setup, which sprung holes in her roof due to some overzealous, ill-advised nail placements, led to $20,400 in repairs.

Her story:

Dish Network installed their dish on our house and ran the cabling ACROSS THE ROOF of our $600K home. Several years ago the roof began to leak so we had a roofer out to fix it. This past spring it began leaking again so we called out the same roofer to fix it again. He told us the reason it was leaking was because Dish Network put dozens of holes in the roof and that it was only going to get worse. In addition to that, the roofing that we have is no longer made so we could not just replace the sections that were directly damaged.

I filed a damage claim with Dish Network spring 2010. They sent someone out twice to take photos and assess the damage. In August they turned it over to their third party administrator Gallagher Bassett (Dish is self-insured) who sent out an adjuster to evaluate the damage. He told me that, “it is a mess up there…” that the damage was caused by the installation of the Dish cabling and that it will only begin to leak more because of all the holes. He also said that there is no way to patch it because of the nature of the roofing material. That was on August 12, 2010.

Living in Colorado and knowing that the snow could begin flying any day, my husband and I were concerned about incurring even more water damage from these leaks.

The reader says an insurance company investigated, found Dish was responsible for the damage and told her to ahead with the repair because it wouldn’t stop the claim from being paid. Things didn’t quite work out that way, though. She had the roof replaced, but due to a technicality, the insurance company had to pass the case on to another insurer. Now she has no proof of the damage she says Dish caused, other than the original report from the old insurer. The reader believes she’s stuck in limbo and will not receive a settlement.

What would your next move be if you were under the reader’s newly repaired roof?


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ickypoopy says:

    Lawyer up.

    • ubermex says:

      This. We’re already in over our collective pay grade down here in comment land.

    • you-toe-pee-an says:

      For sure. “due to a technicality” my ass, they told her to install the roof. Court of Law or Equity would compel at least partial payment and my guess is she could settle this for a little under $2k.

    • sonneillon says:

      Talk to the commissioner of insurance. The commissioner of insurance can fine Dish’s insurance company (which is Dish in this case) until they comply or stop practicing insurance in the state of Colorado.

  2. dietcokefiend says:

    Considering the amount of money involved at this point, the only recommendation is a lawyer. Even with fees you are really in a position to lose a ton of money if this goes south.

  3. SkokieGuy says:

    Why on earth didn’t the OP contact their own insurance company? Present the evidence of the damage (they would have done their own inspections as well).

    The roof is repaired, and your insurance company goes after Dish for the costs. Dish is far more likely to settle with a large insurance company, than with an individual homeowner.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      “The roof is repaired, and your insurance company goes after Dish for the costs. “

      I think a lot of that depends on the insurance company and state you are in. I was in a similar situation as the OP and our insurer didn’t front any money. Going after the contractor (whose truck crushed an old underground pipe) was our responsibility.

      For $20k worth of damage, I think the OP should definitely contact a lawyer.

      • SkokieGuy says:

        The insurer doesn’t front money, the insurer settles a claim.

        When someone hits your car, the insurer doesn’t ‘front’ you repair costs. They pay to fix your car. They then, may or may not go after the insurance company of who hit you.

        Why should the homeowner incur the expense of a lawyer? Their only cost with insurance will be satisfying their deductible.

        • eddieck says:

          If the OP sues and wins, then Dish would be paying her attorney and court fees. With the information we currently have, I would think there would be a good chance of that.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          Laws and individual policies regarding subrogation vary considerably between different states and different insurers.

        • tbax929 says:

          Haven’t you ever heard of subrogation? Insurance companies front claims all the time, then turn around and go after the at-fault party.

    • hills says:

      Homeowner shouldn’t have to risk their insurance rates going up because of a mistake by Dish… Acts of God?-yes. Dish?-No.

  4. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Sure, proof was destroyed and the new insurer MAY cause problems, but I think if the OP took them to court with the report there would be very little doubt.

    The OP has the roofer and and insurance adjuster on her side. The new insurance company would have no evidence to contradict those.

    The OP needs to just state this very clearly to whomever is handling her claim. Accept nothing less than prompt full payment. The damages are certainly high enough to sue.

    • common_sense84 says:

      Keep in mind, that the new insurer has nothing to do with the victim being paid. Dish Network is on the hook no matter what their insurer says.

      If the new insurer denies the claim, that is Dish Network’s problem, they still have to pay for it.

      When she goes to court it will be against Dish Network, not the insurance company. Dish Network will then have to work with their insurer if they want their insurer to pay for it on their own time after paying the victim.

      • AustinTXProgrammer says:

        On top of all that, the “insurance company” is a third party administrator. The OP states that Dish self insures…

        • Dalsnsetters says:

          I thought her letter said that Dish was self-insured? From what I understand, on self-insured policies, the company (in this case Dish) determines what claims will be paid and when. If my understanding is correct, Dish is on the hook regardless. If the insurance company settles, Dish has to write a check; if the OP has to sue Dish minus the insurance, Dish has to write a check.

          (I used to work for a company that was self-insured…and I hated that they reviewed my medical claims prior to paying them. It was just kinda freaky having the controller of the co. know about my medical things.)

  5. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Ah, this is probably why our landlord was pissed off with our neighbors for putting a dish on the roof. I would suggest attempting to get a lawyer, gather as much information that she can from the first insurance company and please hope to god you got pictures of the original issue and the damage caused.

  6. Costner says:

    What kind of roof can’t be repaired? Common asphalt shingles or rubber roofing could easily be repaired and the nailholes used to fasten RG6 cable would be fairly small. Now if this was metal roofing the holes could be repaired, but those repairs would likely be visible. A material like steel shingles or clay or wood shakes would be more difficult but not impossible.

    I’d say the homeowner was a little overzealous to replace the entire roof, because even the best insurer won’t cover 100% of the replacement cost. First the roof would be pro-rated, and second even if an entire section of roofing would need to be replaced (one side of a garage for instance) they aren’t about to cover the entire replacement roof if the homeowner decided to proceed.

    I wouldn’t expect the homeowner will ever recoup the full replacement cost of the roof, so I hope their expectations are reasonable. The best course of action is to continue working with the insurer and if all else fails yes it may be necessary to seek legal counsel – but even that is a risk because if they receive a $3,000 settlement but spent $2,000 on legal fees they don’t really “win”.

    • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

      The letter stated that it was a $600k house and the shingles were no longer being made. I’m guessing they were a custom order and matching ones couldn’t be found.

      For my $70k house, I’d probably just make do with non-matching shingles but if I owned a $600k house, I’d want a roof that looked the same as before the installer visited.

      • JiminyChristmas says:

        If there’s such a thing as a custom asphalt shingle, I’ve never heard of it. It’s much more likely it was a style or color that was discontinued by the manufacturer, which is a common occurrence.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      If I read this correctly, she was approved by Dish’s first insurance company for the amount of the repair. She didn’t just go do it on a whim, she was assured it would be reimbursed.

    • Paularado says:

      They could be wood shake shingles which have been outlawed due to fire danger in many parts of Colorado. Or, they could be T-Lock Shingles which are no longer available, but were popular in Colorado for a while. We had them on our old cabin because we thought they were better in the wind.

    • kayl says:

      “I’d say the homeowner was a little overzealous to replace the entire roof, because even the best insurer won’t cover 100% of the replacement cost. First the roof would be pro-rated, and second even if an entire section of roofing would need to be replaced (one side of a garage for instance) they aren’t about to cover the entire replacement roof if the homeowner decided to proceed.”

      – Depends on your policy; some companies (Am Fam for example) have optional matching endorsements. If they can’t match the material, it all gets replaced. And the statement that even the best insurer wouldn’t cover 100% of the replacement cost is misleading. Obviously the OP and all other homeowners have deductibles. Most homeowners policies would pay Replacement cost less the insured’s deductible.

      As far as her claim, the homeowner will only be able to recover Actual Cash Value for her roof from Dish. They don’t owe her a new roof, they owe her a roof in the condition that it was before the damage occurred, i.e. a 5 year old roof, so she’d get replacement cost less depreciation, which = ACV

  7. MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

    Well, in addition to lawyering up, complain on every available outlet. This is a start, but keep going…talk to your utilities commission, your state Attorney General, your local news station, post on their Facebook page…any and every outlet or regulator. If even one of them thinks you were wronged, they could put a lot more pressure on Dish than you could without a court order, and pressuring Dish into taking care of it will be much faster than taking them to court.

    • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

      Oops, should have said verdict in your favor, not court order. Edit button, please.

  8. Skellbasher says:

    Original claim should have been filed under homeowners. Let them fight it out with Dish Network’s insurance.

    Now that they’re past that, time to lawyer up.

  9. Mike says:

    You should get cable, I have only heard loving, glowing things about cable companies on Consumerist. Everyone loves their cable company!

    In all seriousness though, get a lawyer, you will get resolution in a flash.

    • JennQPublic says:

      I’ve actually gotten reasonably good service from Comcast for years, and the one time I’ve dealt with Dish Network, it was a nightmare worthy of Consumerist. I never sent it in though, because typing the saga up would only have enraged me to the point of blindness.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      This is actually why I’ve always been hesitant to jump to a satellite provider. I’ve seen the installers in my neighborhood and they look no different than the Cox Cable guy who once banged a hole in my wall, didn’t install an outlet box, and tried to screw an outlet plate for the cable connection directly into the drywall. Then he high tailed it out of there saying he couldn’t fix it. Installation attempt #2, with a Cox employed (the other guy was a contractor) installer worked out much better.

      The point is, I don’t want some contractor messing with my roof unless its a roofer. Ultimately the terrible install in my drywall is easy enough to fix (or is just an aesthetic issue). The leaky roof is not a good thing to let go.

  10. Duckula22 says:

    I can’t fathom $20,000+ worth of roof repairs. I think the roofing company was the one who screwed you over.

    • msbask says:

      I think they replaced the whole roof.

    • Gandalf the Grey says:

      It could be very easy to get to that number once you start adding in water damage.

      Re-roofing might only be the start, if you have to replace the wood under the roof, that costs more, then if any of the supports were damaged by water, that costs, then the ceiling joists, the drywall ceiling, the floor below…………

      Point is, things can get very expensive, very quick. I’ve luckily never had to deal with this, but my parents can show you receipts to demonstrate how a 1/4 inch hole in the roof (from an overzealous driller from the electric company) can translate into $15,000.

    • searonson says:

      I think the $20,000 also covers water damage from the leaks in the roof, which seems reasonable to me.

  11. Cheap Sniveler: Sponsored by JustAnswer.comâ„¢ says:

    $24000?? Wow.

    But aside from that, here’s the dish on dish (and direct, too): AFIK, they don’t install, they farm it out to contractors. Yea, it may SAY DISH on their truck, but they are paid piecework.

    And They Just Don’t Care. Our DirecTV Installer, who I’ll call “Pedro”, Completely ignored the detailed written instructions I left with my wife, and put the dish on the WRONG END of the house. He saved himself $20 worth of cable. I called DIRECTV, and they offered no fix. “Deal with it” was their solution.

    After my contract ran out, I put up an antenna and never looked back.

    • tbax929 says:

      Not true. Dish and DirecTV do also employ their own installers. My parents’ dish was installed by a DirecTV employee. Yes, they also use subs, but not exclusively.

  12. golddog says:

    Request/subpoena the GB photos and report. Just b/c they’re not on the case anymore doesn’t make their assessment any less valid…and actually they were acting as DISH’s agents at the time so…there ya go.

    As an aside, I personally think a dish in Colorado on the roof is nuts unless you don’t mind weather outages from snow accumulation six months out of the year. I like it close to the ground where I can run out and whack it with a broom so I don’t miss the important parts of Yo Gaba Gaba.

  13. AllanG54 says:

    Hell, my mother lives in Fort Lauderdale. After a hurricane the roofers just nail tarps up to keep any additional water damage from occurring. That’s what should have been done here until the claim was settled. I would have liked to have seen a pic of the inside damage that was caused because unless they were awfully big nails there must have been nothing more than water spots and maybe some drywall damage.

  14. coren says:

    Someone else took pictures, right?

    Subpoena those, or just get copies (the original insurance company seems to be cooperative enough). It’s sounding like you may have to sue to get the new company to pony up – if so, get a lawyer, stat. And don’t be afraid to call attention to this matter any which way you can – the more Dish feels the heat, the faster they resolve this for you.

  15. common_sense84 says:

    Court is your only option. The report should be as good as gold.

  16. framitz says:

    So, the OP has roof damaged by Dish installation, then fails to mitigate the damage and expects Dish to pay for the entire roofing job? Seems a bit much.

  17. topgun says:

    Whoa… Whoa… Freakin’ hold on WHOA.. I own a business that is located in an older building . Over the years I’ve had a number of changes in the dishes that were installed. I’m constantly on the roof looking for potential leak sources because of a number of things. I’m 99.95% sure that DirecTV did NOT cause the leaks. Over the years I’ve worked wit a number of roofing contractors regarding maintenance. I find it almost impossible to believe from my experience that the DirecTV installer caused this. Honestly people from what I know about roofing leaks it is SO IMPROBABLE to be the source. If the OP were to run a hose on the base of the dish it would truly tell if it is the source. And $20,000 !!!!! Really? Oh maybe the roofer is blaming the DishTV people because he screwed up or just doesn’t want to be involved? What type of roofing material do they have? Not mentioned!

    • MrEvil says:

      I agree with you man. Cable staples would hardly produce holes large enough to cause that kind of damage. The holes probably also wouldn’t penetrate the decking. (Who builds houses without solid-deck roofs anymore?)

      • BurtReynolds says:

        I would guess it has more to do with the mounting of the actual dish than the cabling. I’d have to believe they are installed with bolts of some kind to withstand wind gusts.

    • Ratran says:

      It does seem excessive. I am still trying to figure out how it would end up with $20,000 damage. The OP seemed more concerned to mention the price of her house than the type of damage and roof we are talking about.

  18. Clyde Barrow says:

    First thing that I mentioned to my DishTV installer was that I did NOT want the dish put on top of my house for this very reason. Instead we both agreed to a spot near the back of my yard and I cleared some tree branches. I paid him $100.00 to lay wire to my house which was cheap compared to any damage. Had this not been a good layout, I would have not gotten DishTV. It’s not worth the long-term damage that could occur.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      I insisted that my installer mount my DirecTV dish to the chimney (where an earlier dish had been installed). Of course I was in the middle of a roofing claim after a hail storm and didn’t want to have them come back out after the roof was finished.

      If it’s VERY windy my signal will sometimes drop, as the chimney moves more than the roof…

      But I read that the real damage was from the cables being run across the roof, not the dish itself.

      • Clyde Barrow says:

        I am wondering, after reading about signals being dropped often merely because of the wind, if setting up the dish on a pole and cemented it into the ground is a better idea in the long run. I have yet to see my signal drop for any reason during bad weather or high winds. Strange but lucky too.

    • MeOhMy says:

      Yep…had mine installed on the roof of tool shed. No way was I letting that dude drill holes in my roof, for this very reason.

  19. elkhart007 says:

    The original adjuster’s report is valid evidence because it’s written by a 3rd party. We commonly used these types of outfits in accident investigation when I worked for a trucking company. They probably have a very detailed report with lots of pictures (they get paid per picture so they go nuts with a camera). The more time they spend investigating, writing the report, and taking pictures garners them more money so by default they are thorough. They’re very quick to damn whoever is at fault and give their recommendations which are usually right since they have fields they specialize in.

  20. Not Given says:

    My husband wanted to install an attic vent in what used to be our garage, still unfinished space. After the 15 years it took to find the leak in our roof over the den I asked him to please do not f* cut a hole in the f* roof. SOB still leaks to this day.

    Do not ever cut a hole in your roof. Don’t let anyone up on your roof that isn’t replacing it and make sure they know what they’re doing. The f* thing was replaced twice, before it was finally fixed the third time. The contractor had to be on the roof during a cats and dogs rain, at night, and it was slippery as hell (give him props,) before he could tell where the water was getting in. Another contractor had run a garden hose over the whole thing for an hour without making a drop inside the house, until 10 minutes after he left, when we got a gallon in the bucket we always kept there JIC.

    If your roof starts leaking, make them replace the flashing with LARGER flashing while they’re doing it.

  21. tator says:

    I have installed a couple of dishes myself (DISH used to cut you a break for self service) when you only had to link up to a single satellite. It went on the edge of the roof, so if it did leak, it would not enter the house. If you couldn’t do it yourself, you should have been present (or had someone competent to oversee the job) when it was installed. The location would be where you wanted it, the wire could run along the shadow line of the siding, outlets in the house would be appropriately located on walls (rather than bringing the wire up through the floor), etc. If the provider balks, hire an electrician. It may be a little more up front, but in the long term it will protect your investment.

  22. TKDplaya says:

    I would recommend retaining the services of an architect or engineer as an expert witness. Using the original report from the adjuster (and hopefully photos you may have taken) as well as any records of the service calls made by Dish representatives, you should have sufficient evidence to make your case. Often, using an Architect or Engineer as an expert witness, the other side (defendant) has no real ground to stand on. Also, see if you can get some record of the assessment made by the roofer(s) who did the initial repairs. That will further substantiate your claims. Good luck.

  23. notveryhappy says:

    Okay, I’m the person whose roof had dozens of holes put in it by Dishnetwork. Since my initial post, I actually did get a copy of the report that was made by Dishnetwork’s own insurance company, which is who sent out the adjuster. The roofing was unable to be repaired because, 1) no patching material would stick to it, and 2) the material that our roof is made out of is no longer made and there is nothing else out there like it, so any replacing of shingles would have stuck out like a sore thumb…unacceptable. It was Dishnetwork’s adjuster who said that the entire roof needed to be replaced. HIS estimate for the damage caused by the install came out to more than $25,000. The actual cost to replace our roof was $20,400. We have not had the interior water damage repaired yet. I received a voice mail from a rep from Dishnetwork’s insurance company the day before Thanksgiving stating that Dishnetwork had given her the go-ahead to “resolve my claim with Dishnetwork” and that she would be back in the office next Wednesday and would call me with what they are willing to do to settle this claim. I’ll keep you posted.
    The bigger issue, to me, is how many other customers had the cabling for their dish nailed across the roof and aren’t aware that any leaks may have been caused by the resulting damage. I can’t imagine that we are the only people to whom this has happened.

  24. Mike.H_DISH Network says:

    Hello my name is Mike Houston of DISH Network; I want to apologize for the damages to your home. We at DISH Network do have a policy in place for damages in or outside of the home. And while reading over your post I see where you talked with the Damages Department. The Damages Department will process the claim and contact you about the results. I will be more than happy to see where the issue stands; I will need the claim number and your account number or phone number to get the notes from the account. I will leave my e-mail so you can contact me directly

  25. METRO25 says:

    First of all im no fan of DISH Network, but I have been doing satellite installations for over 12 years. Here are a few things I have observed over the years…

    #1 Dishes very rarely will cause your roof to leak.

    #2 Everytime someones roof leaks and they have a satellite Dish, they automatically assume it was the Dish that is the source of the leak. I can tell you that 99% of the time its not the Dish that is causing water to enter the home. In this country people always want to blame someone else so they don’t have to pay to get it fixed, so they blame the Dish installer.

    #3 When the Dish is installed, the installer puts silicone around the bolts on the Dish. Even on installations where the installer used no sealent what so ever, the Dish still will not leak.

    #4 The only way you can get a leak is if your installer drilled a hole through the roof to run the cables into the attic. Or if in the case where the mount of the Dish was loosened up, or removed allowing water to enter through the exposed screw holes.

    #5 Just about every water damage claim, such as the one in this thread is inflated.

    The person who had the roof damage is an idiot. First of all they should have never spent $20,000 of their own money to repair the roof themselves. The way insurance works is that they come out and inspect the damages. A roofer comes out and gives you an estimate and then the insurance company cuts you a check for the repairs. The insurance company does not expect everyone to have an extra $20,000 in their bank account to pay for the repairs yourself and expect to get re-imbursed. Thats why they pay you first.

    Second of all, by completing repairs before getting paid from the insurance, you pretty much destroyed all the evidence needed to prove that a replacement or repair was necessary.

    Third, I don’t buy the story about not being able to find the shingles and having that justify replacing the entire roof because of it. You match things as best as you can, and in a few years it will blend in.

    The only issue I can see is the shingles around where the Dish was actually mounted. As far as any holes where the installer used cable clips, a little bit of tar and some granuals spread over the hole should repair a tiny little hole.