‘Nightmare’ roof repair scam in Mount Merrion

by Emma Nolan
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VULNERABLE Mount Merrion locals are being targeted in a ‘nightmare’ scam.
Reports of a group of men offering to repair roofs which they claim are damaged are circulating in the Mount Merrion, Blackrock and Foxrock areas, and locals say that some neighbours have lost as much as €20,000.
One Mount Merrion local, Kathleen, told The Gazette about her experience where she was threatened by the men who damaged her roof deliberately before trying to extort money from her.
Around two weeks ago, Kathleen, who is a widow, saw a man walking out of her garden as she was walking home to her house.
She said he was wearing “official looking” clothing with a logo on it.
The next day, the same man knocked on her door, but she didn’t answer because she was alone and didn’t know who he was.
Then, when he showed up at her house for the third day in a row, she answered to see what he wanted.
“I thought, ‘If he comes again, I’ll see what he wants’, so I opened the door and he said: ‘Do you know you have a hole in your roof?’ and he left me a flyer.”
Kathleen then went to check the roof and saw that there was indeed a hole in her roof. Over the next few days, she frantically tried to call roofers to come and repair it, but none were available at short notice.
“I couldn’t get anybody over the weekend, and by Monday I was panicking because I had a hole in my roof.”
Trying to help, Kathleen’s son called the number on the flyer that was left by the man a few days earlier. He said he would come and repair the tiles for €100.
“So then, a day later, three men arrived with ladders and got up on the roof and before I knew it, they were taking tiles off the roof.”
The men told Kathleen the damage was a lot worse than initially thought, and tried to charge her €2,000 to repair it.
Kathleen says she knew she was in trouble then. “I started shaking,” she said.
She called her friend, Rosemary, who runs a property management company called Dublin Property Centre, and asked her to come over to help her deal with the men.
“I told her they were taking tiles off my roof and she arrived soon after, [coming] from a building site in Stillorgan with a male builder with her.”
Kathleen said that Rosemary confronted the men and told them to leave before they could charge her any money – but she was still left shaken by the incident.
Rosemary told The Gazette that the men became worried when she questioned them on their protocol and methods.
“They were very forceful in a passive-aggressive way, and they looked the part with their electrician trousers and van.”
She suspects that the men made the hole worse in order to charge more to repair it.
“They’re the sharpest operators. People on their own – widows, pensioners – it’s very scary for them. It’s very intimidating, and you don’t realise you’re in it, til you’re in it; it’s like an accident.”
Kathleen said she was very lucky that she didn’t hand over money and has heard of others who have been intimidated into paying scammers. She is now having CCTV cameras installed at her house.
The incident was reported to gardai and the Mount Merrion Residents’ Association have warned locals to be aware.
Tom Fahey, from the association, said: “One lady in Blackrock was taken for €20,000 and another for €5,000, and these are the ones we know about.
“Apparently, most people won’t report these scams because they’re ashamed.”
Tom is warning his neighbours and people across the wider area not to do business or engage with someone arriving on their doorstep uninvited.
He advises: “If you need work done on your house, always engage a reputable contractor.
“Always get a quote in writing from a contractor before you agree to have any work to be performed on your property.
“If a contractor is legitimate, he will not have a problem signing such a quote.”
The Mount Merrion Residents’ Association say to call gardai at Blackrock Garda Station on 01 666 5200 to report people going door to door offering such services.

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