Calgary police investigate door-to-door scam that cost family thousands of dollars
Calgary police are investigating after a family lost thousands of dollars to what appears to be a fake roofing company.
The McGann family says in July, a man showed up at their Bankview home, claiming to be with a roofing company and offering to fix their eavestroughs.
The family had been having problems with the corrugated panel roof over their hot tub so they agreed to an estimate for the repair work, but said the man and his crew immediately started demolishing the roof.
“Next thing you know he had ripped the whole thing off — like in no time flat,” Kathie McGann said.
She said she felt like she had no choice but to continue with the job — even with the $8,000 price tag — and eventually agreed to the lesser amount of $6,000, which the men insisted be paid in cash.
“I said, ‘I’m going to wait until it’s all done,'” McGann said. “He said, ‘Look lady, we need the cash today.'”
McGann said she felt flustered and scared so she went to the bank and took out $2,000. But the men demanded the rest.
The family refused and the crew left — leaving the job unfinished.
The McGann’s filed a complaint with the Calgary Police Service, who have confirmed to Global News they are investigating.
“The best we can do is come out and get the details,” Det. Matt Fredericksen, with the Economic Crimes Unit said. “And if it’s a criminal matter we will investigate and try and identify the suspect.”
The problem with this case, and many others, is the lack of information to go on, officials said.
The McGann’s didn’t get a business licence number or an official receipt. The handwritten receipt they did get doesn’t have the company address or name — just the letters JAR and a couple of phone numbers.
Global News tried to call those numbers, which have Ontario area codes, but one was not in service, the other didn’t let us leave a message.
“I feel stupid,” McGann said. “But at the same time, it all happened so fast, so quickly and being a caring person, I trust people.”
Frederiksen said it happens more than most people realize.
Door-to-door sales are legal in Alberta, except when it comes to energy products, but Frederiksen said that doesn’t mean people should feel pressured.
“If someone is being really pushy or making you uncomfortable or saying something has to be done at that second, you don’t,” he added. “Take the time. You can close the door on the person.”
Frederiksen said if the company is legitimate, it will send someone back. If they don’t, you’ve dodged a bullet.
“I don’t want people to be paranoid, but I want people to be responsible,” he added. “Look for contracts, look for a BBB rating, contact Service Alberta if you’ve got concerns about the legitimacy of the company.”
For the McGann’s, it’s just the latest incident in a tough few years.
In 2015, they were involved in a serious, head-on collision which left Kathie’s husband Brian with some disabilities. Their daughter Colleen also has cerebral palsy.
Kathie McGann said while it’s not an excuse, she feels the apparently fake roofing company preyed on her exhaustion.
“Things are just really hard, they haven’t been fun at all.”
But McGann said she’s grateful for the help she has gotten since the incident.
She said two other local companies stepped in to finish the roofing jobs, and after hearing her story, did the work for a deeply reduced price.
“If any good did come of it, it was knowing that there are really good people out there,” McGann said.
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