Wyoming adopts law reining in freewheeling roof repair operations
Hail storms are a recurring summer event in Wyoming. Millions of dollars in damage is inflicted on hundreds of homes in Wyoming every year. This leads to a large number of contractors and related individuals offering roof repair services to Wyoming residents. As I learned when running the consumer protection unit, it also leads to many consumer complaints about the quality of the repairs, unfinished repairs and misrepresentations about the extent of the repair job and the insurance coverage for the job.
Over the past few years there had been an effort in the Wyoming legislature to enact a law that protects consumers from some of the problems described above. This led to passage of an act that provides certain protections for consumers in the context of storm damage repair contracts. Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 40-12-701 to -706. The new statutory section is effective July 1, 2017.
Under the new law, contractors who offer roof, siding and gutter repairs to owners or possessors of residential real estate must adhere to certain solicitation restrictions and disclosure requirements. The repair contracts must include the disclosures and provide a statutorily proscribed cancellation notice. Consumers are given the right to cancel the repair contract within three business days of the latter of the date it was entered into, or the date that the consumer receives written notice from the insurer that the claim has been denied.
Any person who violates the new law is subject to the private and class action remedies provided for under the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act, section 40-12-108.
Colorado has a somewhat similar law. I recently litigated a case in which I used the Colorado version of the law as a defense where a consumer was being sued by a roofing company for payment for repairs that were never completed.
One last thought. The new law is not directly incorporated into the Wyoming Consumer Protection Act, yet it utilizes a remedy under the Act. In my opinion, the most elegant way of handling a situation like this is to make a violation of the law an unfair or deceptive act or practice under the Act. Since this was not done in this case, it is unenforceable by the Wyoming Attorney General. It is only enforceable by private parties.