When a devastating tornado rolled through Hamden in May, Kimberly Repollet expected the worst. But it wasn’t mother nature that did the damage to Repollet’s home.
Repollet gave NBC Connecticut Responds cell phone video her husband shot moments before a huge tree came crashing down on the family’s property.
Repollet said the video shows a man in an excavator trying to remove a tree from her neighbor’s backyard.
According to Repollet, the man identified himself as David Massey, owner of Massey Brothers Excavating in Branford.
In the video, after the tree toppled on to Repollet’s fence, you can hear Massey say “That’s what insurance is for.”
“We thought in our heads how can this possibly not fall on our property?” Repollet told NBC Connecticut. “And then as it was happening, we were just shocked.”
Repollet told us her husband confronted Massey afterwards.
“He seemed to want to fix the situation. He said he would pay us cash for the damages,” said Repollet.
She believed the cost to repair the damage to her privacy and pool fences, pool reel, and concrete would cost thousands.
Repollet said Massey assured her he’d send someone out the next day to assess the damage.
“He never had anybody come and look at the fences,” said Repollet.
Repollet said she and Massey went back and forth through multiple phone calls and emails. Massey did send an employee over to drop off a pool reel.
“He still said he was going to come and give us the money for it and then he just stopped returning phone calls, stopped returning text messages,” said Repollet.
Repollet said she and her husband got their own estimate that totaled nearly $7,000 in damages.
She contacted NBC Connecticut Responds in hopes that no one else would go through her experience.
NBC Connecticut Responds spoke with Massey by phone. He admitted he is the person in the video and told us he had been on vacation, and insisted he would repair the damage when he returned.
Repollet said he never did.
We went to a Branford home listed as Massey’s business address, but no one answered the door.
“We’re not looking to make any money. We just want the damages repaired that was caused by him and his company, said Repollet.
“If ever someone says I want to deal in cash and then walks away from you, it’s definitely not a good deal,” said Lora Rae Anderson with the Department of Consumer Protection.
Anderson said in situations like this you should always file a claim with the contractor’s insurance company and put any agreement in writing.
“So, you know what you’re paying and you know what’s going to happen when someone comes to fix your home,” said Anderson.
Anderson said make sure you use a licensed contractor and get more than one reference before they do the job.
Massey Brothers LLC is registered with the State of Connecticut.
The Repollets said they have filed a claim with their insurance company and an agent informed the family, they will get a check for $4,400, not including their $1,000 deductible.
According to Connecticut’s Department of Insurance, there is a provision in homeowner policies that gives insurance companies the right to recover what they pay out. Homeowners should check with their agent or insurer for details on their policy.