INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Randy White has been playing the waiting game for nearly a year.
Last September, the south Indianapolis resident signed a contract with Green Frog Restoration to repair his leaking roof. He showed I-Team 8 receipts for two insurance checks worth more than $6,000 he signed over to Green Frog Restoration, which has maintained an office in Carmel, Indiana, until recently.
Almost a year after signing that contract, White says no one from the company has ever returned to repair his roof.
“I’m frustrated, aggravated beyond belief, there have been restless nights,” White said. “I think they took my money and ran. That’s exactly what I think happened.”
White is not alone.
Barbara and Robert Duke said they were approached by salesmen from Green Frog Restoration after a hail storm last May. The Dukes signed over their insurance check worth $10,000.
“They come and got the check and then we didn’t hear anymore from them,” Barbara Duke told I-Team 8 in a recent interview.
In the past year, 45 complaints have been filed against Green Frog Restoration with the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau, which gave the company an “F” rating. The BBB said it has received seven complaints in August and 13 in July. The Indiana Attorney General’s Office has received 25 complaints in the past year, 20 of which remain open cases.
The Indiana Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division is now investigating consumer complaints filed against Green Frog Restoration for unfinished home improvement services related to the business closing, spokeswoman Molly Gillaspie said in a statement issued to I-Team 8.
The AG’s Office will pursue any and all options in attempt to refund these individuals and would encourage any affected customers who have not filed a complaint with the office to do so by visiting www.IndianaConsumer.com. They can also file complaints with local law enforcement. If consumers paid for these services with a credit card, they can dispute the charge with their credit card company. Credit cards offer the best consumer protection, as opposed to paying with cash or check. The AG’s office would also remind people to avoid paying up-front and in-full for products or services that will be received or performed at a later date. Do not pay more than a third of the total cost as a down payment. More tips to avoid home improvement scams are available here: http://www.in.gov/attorneygeneral/2545.htm.”
The owner, Wanda VanWinkle, did not return a message left on her cell phone Monday. Repeated attempts to reach her and other Green Frog Restoration employees at the Carmel office have been unsuccessful. A property manager at the Carmel office complex where Green Frog Restoration was located said she hasn’t seen any tenants in weeks. The signage has been removed from the door.
While the company still has active business licenses in states like Indiana, Colorado, Texas and Pennsylvania, the company’s website was taken down last week.
A property manager at an address listed as Green Frog Restoration’s corporate office in Pittsburgh said the tenants defaulted on their rent more than a year ago. Property managers at subsequent satellite offices in Missouri, Kentucky and Texas all said they’ve never had a tenant named Green Frog Restoration or rented to any of its registered agents.
While the company touts itself as a “national firm” on its website, I-Team 8 found Green Frog claims to be practicing in states like Kentucky and Ohio where it does not have an active business licenses filed with the respective secretary of state offices.
Last week, a Hamilton County judge awarded a $3,500 judgment in favor of Jacqueline Johnson, an Indianapolis woman who filed a tort claim complaint against the company for work that was never completed.
No one from Green Frog Restoration or its attorneys showed up in court, so Johnson was awarded the judgment automatically.
Just days before Friday’s hearing, the company’s local attorney, Russell Jones, withdrew himself as counsel. Jones told I-Team 8 by phone that he no longer represents the company and has not heard from them in weeks. He declined to elaborate.
The Marion County Prosecutor’s Office has recommendations for anyone having repair work done on their home:
- Do not pay until all of the work is complete.
- All home improvement projects over $150 must be in writing.
- Check out companies with BBB or the Indiana Secretary of State’s Office to make sure they are registered in Indiana.
- Get three estimates before deciding which company to use.
- NEVER agree to use someone who shows up at your door uninvited.