She said she got three roofing quotes and eventually settled on hiring Total Remodeling LLC to do her roofing work.
"There is a 12-year warranty, price guarantee and the whole 9 yards," Gibbs said. "It looks very professional."
If the owner of Total Remodeling LLC had not flown under the Better Business Bureau's radar, then Gibbs might have avoided her ensuing roof-repair headache.
Gibbs signed the contract with Total Remodeling LLC in July 2010 and said her roof was done in only one day. Gibbs' insurance covered it. Despite the roof repairs, as soon as it started raining outside, it started raining inside Gibbs' home too.
"It comes down like a machine gun, real fast, almost a steady stream when it's raining [well,]" Gibbs said. "Funny thing is, it never leaked before."
Gibbs did not know Total Remodeling LLC's owner Ed Humphrey's background before she hired him.
"He talked a good game," Gibbs said, "I had no idea. I'm flying blind here."
Gibbs says she had done some research on Total Remodeling online.
"There [are] videos of people singing his praises," Gibbs said. "There [are] different places you can go for the roofing, for the siding; it's like he's got a video for everything, talking about how great they are and what they'll do and how wonderful everything is going to look afterwards."
She also checked out the Better Business Bureau of Denver/Boulder.
"[The BBB] didn't have any negative reports," Gibbs said.
9NEWS found court documents that show Ed Humphrey moves from state to state, taking money for work he never completes.
In Florida, he's on probation for grand theft. According to the State Attorney's Office, Humphrey took money from four customers without finishing their work. In each construction project, Humphrey used another man's contractor's license. Humphrey pleaded guilty to those charges.
In California, Humphrey is under investigation for working without a license.
In New Jersey, the state has indicted Humphrey for allegedly taking nearly $200,000 from nine people without doing the work. Humphrey has a court hearing for that case in June.
Just like Gibbs, even the Better Business Bureau didn't know about Humphrey's past. They were not the only ones. Offices in New Jersey and Florida had no idea until 9NEWS told them. The Florida BBB posted about Humphrey pleading guilty to four separate counts of grand theft and four counts of contracting without a license after talking to 9NEWS.
The New Jersey BBB updated their webpage as well, listing the pending indictment.
9NEWS also shared Humphrey's history with the Denver/Boulder BBB.
"Thanks to you, we were able to do more research, and [9NEWS] brought this to our attention," Dale M. Mingilton, President & CEO, Executive Director of the Denver/Boulder BBB, said.
After we shared the documents with the BBB, the nonprofit changed its "A-" rating for Humphrey's company to an "F."
"We have a fairly good network," Mingilton said. "Obviously, this one was not caught or seen by other bureaus, because it was probably underneath [our] radar."
The BBB only shows complaints for three years, and, because of that, Humphrey's 2005 New Jersey allegations and 2006 thefts in Florida would have disappeared before Gibbs could find out about them.
"If you look at how credit is re-established, how the world works, some things are two years, some things are three years, data destruction on files are five years. I think we picked the best and fairest way to deal with businesses," Mingilton said.
Also, the BBB did not thoroughly vet Humphrey because he had not paid to be an official BBB member. Paying members are considered "accredited businesses." If Humphrey had paid, Total Remodeling LLC would have checked out and listed as accredited business in the BBB system. Total Remodeling LLC is listed as a non-accredited business on the BBB website.
The nonprofit does not do criminal background checks. That means there are no guarantees Humphrey's prior criminal record would've shown up to consumers.
Even if the BBBs had posted the complaints, the website only allow consumers to search business histories by company name or phone number. A regular consumer like Gibbs would not have seen the complaints about Ed Humphrey, because he used a different company name in each state.
"Is there things we can always do better? Everybody can do things better," Mingilton said. "Do we have a pretty good system? Yeah. Again, it goes back to we're data information. We give you as much information as we can. But how long do I penalize somebody?"
For Gibbs, who also filed a complaint with the attorney general's office, the answer to that question is really simple.
"I don't want to believe that somebody is out to cheat me, but he certainly was," Gibbs said. "He saw me coming."
This week, another company, Rocky Mountain Roofing & Restoration, approached Gibbs and fixed her roof for free.
Humphrey's company is registered with the Colorado Secretary of State. He is also a registered contractor in several cities, including Lakewood and Federal Heights. Neither the state nor the cities run a criminal background check. The applicant simply fills out the paperwork and pays the fees.
The BBB says consumers need to do their homework and report issues to the nonprofit themselves.
"Should you trust the Better Business Bureau? I hope so. We've got a lot of people nationwide searching, researching [and] finding as much data for you consumers for no cost. You have to look at that. That's not the total stopping point. You consumers have to also do your due diligence," Mingilton said.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)