West Bank homeowners say repair business is a scam

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 11 at 10:41 PM

Jaclyn Kelley / Eyewitness News
Email: jkelley@wwltv.com | Twitter: @jkelleyWWL

HARVEY, La. -- Back in February, golf ball-size hail forced many West Bank residents to repair their badly damaged cars and homes, but it has been months and one Harvey man says he is still waiting to get his roof fixed after shelling out thousands of dollars.

The hail damaged cars, windows and roofs in a matter of minutes, leaving West Bank residents like James Russell with thousands of dollars worth of repairs.

"It tore apart the ventilator up there, the roof was damaged and the insurance guy said it was going to be $8,000 or $9,000 minus the deductible, so I paid that," said Russell.

Russell handed over $8,300 to Busy Bee Restoration to fix his damaged roof.

That was in February. It has been seven months, and still no work has been done on his home.

"I called and they said it was going to be two weeks, then it was one week, then it was two weeks, Russell. "Then I started not getting any calls."

Russell said after countless phone calls and excuses, he decided to confront them in person at their office, but when he got there he found the doors locked, the lights off and no was one around.

"It's real aggravating," said Russell. "I did my part. I paid them the money on the day they asked for it on the 17th."

According to the Better Business Bureau, the company has five different locations that are all owned by the same person, Laura Harris.

One of those locations is no longer in business, and its Marrero office only became BBB accredited on Feb. 28 and registered with the Louisiana Secretary of State's Office on March 1, just days after the hail storm hit.

"I am a bit concerned because we have had individuals stating that they have not been able to contact Busy Bee," said Better Business Bureau Vice President Cynthia Albert.

Five complaints have been filed with the local BBB office and responded to, but the latest complain has not. That is why the BBB has removed the A+ rating.

A former employee with the company says he has over 100 customers in Louisiana who paid Busy Bee Restoration to do work that was never done.

"We finally just had to tell them that a scam was going on and that we all quite," L.T. Carroll said.

Carroll says he quit when he realized what was going on. He too received excuse after excuse about why he was not getting paid and why the work was not getting done.

"I think he is a scumbag," Carroll said. "I think he is your typical con artist taking advantage of people."

Eyewitness News talked with the owner of Busy Bee Restoration, Laura Harris Wednesday. However, she has not responded to the allegations.

 

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