Fair Go: Rogue roofer leaves dozens of Kiwis out of pocket

Gill Higgins
Source: Fair Go

Christchurch-based roofer Macaulay Marchant has a convincing website, claiming professional workmanship and years of experience. 

But the reality is he's left a trail of jobs half done, or on some occasions has taken deposits and then not done any work at all - and it's not just in Christchurch.

Justine Smith in Auckland paid $13,000 up front and still has a leaking roof, while Kim Jackson in Dunedin is $22,000 out of pocket with very a big repair job still on her hands. 

But most of Marchant’s unhappy customers are in Christchurch. 

Fair Go has spoken to six people there who want a refund after Marchant let them down. 

These include both residential and commercial customers, and we understand more than $200,000 has been paid to Marchant, money which these customers want returned. 

There isn't much hope of that now, because Essential Roofing, the company Macaulay Marchant started in 2017 is now in liquidation. 

Marchant made that decision just three days after Fair Go got in touch asking for an explanation for his trail of unhappy customers. 

He admitted he had one or two, but didn't accept the full scale of the problem, asking Fair Go for proof of their complaints. We were happy to provide this, and Marchant agreed to a meeting with Fair Go, but failed to appear.

We wanted to remind him of customers like Caro Bartlett from the Marlborough Sounds. 

Early in February she asked Marchant to fix a leak in her roof that was causing problems in one of the bedrooms. 

It was an urgent job, so as Caro had no money to spare, she took the money from the Kiwisaver Hardship fund. It was $8,000. 

Being some way from Christchurch, Caro organised free accommodation for Marchant to make it easy for him to do the work. Marchant told Caro on the phone that he was just loading his trailer up and would be with her in a few hours. 

He never turned up, and despite repeated messages, Marchant still hasn't done any work at all. Caro desperately wants that $8,000 back. 

There are many similar stories, and a long list of excuses used, ranging from having glandular fever, to being in hospital, to having his supplies factory burnt down.

He told Fair Go the weather in Christchurch had been too hot or windy to do any work for six weeks so he was a little behind. 

Marchant spends much of his time playing pool competitions. His Facebook page shows photos of his games, and Christchurch pool halls have shown him playing in live feeds on their own Facebook sites. 

This included a game this last weekend, when he'd told Fair Go he was too busy to talk as he was dealing with the liquidators. 

Customers are in disbelief that he could continue to rip off clients for so long, without being taken to task, despite Disputes Tribunal decisions against him, and several customers taking their complaints to the police. 

Fair Go spoke to a detective working on the case, who said it could be weeks or months before they make a decision on whether there is enough evidence to charge Macaulay Marchant. 

The Roofing Association CEO, Graham Moor, is frustrated too. 

He admits roofers have more than their fair share of problem tradies. But he also believes there is a solution, and that's to make it a requirement for all roofers to be licensed. 

At the moment, it only applies to those doing new roofs. Anyone at all can take on work doing re-roofing and repairs. 

He says making this change could make it much harder for roofers like Macaulay Marchant to operate. There are plenty of people who wish this was the case.