Comox senior out thousands of dollars

Police say nothing can be done

  • Nov. 16, 2015 6:00 p.m.

Scott Stanfield

Record staff

An elderly Comox woman with dementia is out thousands of dollars after signing a cheque she assumed was worth hundreds.

On Oct. 14, the 78-year-old woman, who lives on her own, signed a contract for some roofing work by a company called Rock Hard Contracting. The person with whom she was dealing went by the name Andrew Crosbie. Neither the company, nor Crosbie, could be found in an online search.

Campbell River resident Wendy Kelson says her mother — whom she describes as a spendthrift — handed her cheque book over to the stranger, who filled in the information.

She assumes he filled in the amount as he showed her mother where to sign. When Kelson visited the next day, her mother said she had written a cheque for $400 for the work. However, the amount on the contract was $4,800.

Kelson went to the bank to retrieve a copy of the cheque, which was written in the same handwriting as the contract.

“That contract form? I could have typed that up in five minutes. It’s nothing professional. And he only signed it with his first name.”

The work stated on the contract includes:

• Clean gutters

• Apply clear coating waterproof

• Instal metal gutter guard screen system

• Clean roof

• Nail down loose shingles

• Apply hot rubber to all vents, skylight, and any problems on roof

•Apply moss removal coating to entire roof

The contractor’s signature line reads “Andrew & Don,” printed.

The contract states that the quoted amount ($4,800) is due upon completion of the job and it also states that the work has not been completed.

The contract offers a Kelowna phone number, which goes straight to voicemail.

Calls made to the number by Record staff went unanswered.

Kelson said a few workers spent a couple hours on the roof installing grating in the gutters and pouring hot tar on moss around vents, as verified by a neighbour.

“We’ve taken precautions since then,” Kelson said. “She doesn’t have her cheque book any more.”

Kelson has contacted police, who say the contract is legal because her mother signed it. A teller said the bank would likely have caught Crosbie’s face on camera, but police told her the bank manager won’t allow them to see it.