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GUARANTEE IS KEY TO LEAKY ROOF

Q: In February 2004, I developed a bad leak in my roof over the main part of my home. I called LeakProof Roofing. They immediately came and put a temporary cover over the bad spot and nailed it down. They charged me $1,500 for this work. After this was completed, other roof repairs were recommended to stop future problems. LeakProof quoted me $5,500 for the repairs. I agreed to the work and was told the work was guaranteed. I spent another $400 to repair the ceiling. After the next snowfall and thaw, the roof started leaking again. I called and LeakProof came and repaired the problem. Again, the ceiling was damaged and had to be repaired for a second time. The roofing company has been at my home several times between February and July.

I called Steve Martino from LeakProof Roofing and asked if his insurance would help me out with the repairs. He told me "no." Since then, I have had trouble reaching the company at its listed address or by calling the workers' cellular phone numbers. Every time I call, I get the answering service. The last time I saw them, it was mid-summer. The problem isn't as bad as it had been, but my roof still leaks -- and I'm unable to reach the company.

-- Stephen Baradics, West Seneca

A: Hopefully, your leaky roof worries will end soon. After News Power contacted Steve Martino, LeakProof's owner, he offered to come out to your home and correct the persistent problem. "We'll go out and check his roof. If there's a problem, we can fix it," Martino said.

Martino agreed that your contract with LeakProof provides for a guarantee on the work performed by the company. A review of that contract verified a 20-year guarantee on all work performed by LeakProof Roofing.

Martino said he didn't receive your phone calls, and said this was the first time he heard of the latest leak recurrence. "He does have a warranty, but he never tried to call me. I don't understand," Martino said.

Nevertheless, Martino vowed to make good on the roof repairs. "We'll get this fixed either way," Martino said. "I'm here to satisfy all of my customers, especially ones with a warranty. That's what he paid us for."

Martino, who left a message for you Nov. 2 after we spoke with him, said he'd like to begin rectifying the problem. "I'll be out there this week, as soon as (Baradics) is available," Martino said in a Nov. 2 telephone interview. "I wouldn't screw him for nothing in the world." We recommend you set up an appointment immediately once Martino and you connect by telephone.

Follow-up note
Professional Tree Cutting & Landscaping of Hamburg finally made good on its promise to finish grinding the last of tree stumps at Jill Kolpack's home in Hamburg at no additional cost. Owner Brian Leonard called us Oct. 6 to say that his company completed the job. Kolpack confirmed that the work was done to her satisfaction.

Consumer note
Do not fall for calls or letters claiming you have won a prize, but you must pay something. The Better Business Bureau warns that such calls or letters are usually worded very carefully to give the impression that you have already won. However, chances are it's either a low-value "premium with purchase" or a non-required purchase with extremely slim odds that you are the top winner.

Have a consumer problem? Send a letter summarizing your problem to News Power, The Buffalo News, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, N.Y. 14203. Attention: Karen Robinson, or e-mail newspower@buffnews.com or fax a question to 648-3012. To be considered for publication, readers must fully identify themselves by name and the town where they live. Clearly explain your problem, and be sure to include a telephone number. Not all questions can be addressed.

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