Police are investigating after a number of homeowners were left dodgy repair work carried out by men knocking on doors, offering discounted jobs.
Several incidences have been reported across Auckland and in the Waikato. It is not clear if the alleged scammers are acting together or in different groups.
Tania Matthews and her husband from Henderson in West Auckland say they are the latest victims and were "duped" out of $1700 by two men who agreed to waterblast and paint their roof.
They left it a patchy mess, with splatters on the chimney, side of the house and even their car.
On January 7 she was approached by two men who said the roof looked like it needed a new coat of paint. They had been working on a property across the road, had a ute full of equipment, and looked and sounded "like they knew what they were doing", Matthews said.
After inspecting the roof, one of the men, who called himself Patrick and had an Irish accent, according to Matthews, came back with a quote of $1700 for a waterblast, coat of primer and two top coats.
Matthews agreed and the men got to work.
About four hours later Matthews' husband left to pick up their granddaughter.
The men approached her and said they had finished the job, saying it took less time than expected, because it was a hot day.
"It was a really hot day, and they sounded so convincing. I could only see the carport, and I saw it was painted so thought they had finished and stupidly paid them."
As the men were packing up, Matthews' husband arrived home.
"He had a look on the roof and saw they had missed entire sections, had not even waterblasted, and paint was splattered everywhere. It was an absolute mess." The men told them they'd return the next day to finish the job, and provided them with a business card.
Soon after they left, the couple started to get an uneasy feeling, Matthews said.
The next day the men never showed up. The numbers and email address on the business card did not get responses. They also found the men had used interior, rather than exterior, paint.
"At that point we knew we had been duped," Matthews said.
The next day Matthews checked in with her neighbour, and found she had paid the men $750 for waterblasting and weeding. "But it looked like they had not done anything."
The following day Matthews was visiting a friend around the corner when she saw the men's ute parked outside a house. Her husband confronted them, and found the elderly man living there had paid the men $1000 for roofing work, but they had returned for another $1500 to finish the job.
"My husband took their keys off them and called the police, but the men ran away."
Police arrived and confiscated the vehicle, Matthews said.
"They told my husband it sounded like the same guys who had ripped someone off for $5000 in Mt Albert."
About half an hour later Matthews' husband went to check on the elderly man, and one of the roofers was there.
They called police, who arrived and arrested a man.
Matthews said their incident sounded similar to what happened to the 82-year-old woman in Greenlane on January 4, when men knocked on her door offering to fix her roof. She was allegedly scammed out of $9000 and a hole was left in her roof. Another elderly woman was duped out of more than $10,000 by two men in December.
Senior sergeant Bridget Doell said police were investigating a complaint in Henderson relating to incomplete roof repairs, among other recent complaints of this nature in Auckland.
And last night, Waikato Detective Sergeant Philip Elvy said a group of men had been offering discounted home maintenance work in the Waikato area. Three individuals from the group were wanted to interview in regard to the Waikato incidents and police were working to find them. The men often approached homeowners saying they were "contractors who just happen to be in the area" and homeowners were sometimes pressured into handing over money up-front.
"However, the reality is that these individuals are often out to obtain easy money and then quickly leave," Elvy said. If you are approached in such a situation - do not engage and do not hand over any money. We advise you call police immediately on 111."
Matthews said she wanted to share her story to encourage people to be more aware. "I just feel so stupid. I am really angry at myself for falling for it, I like to think of myself as intelligent, but they duped us."