A former employee at a Jacksonville roofing company has revealed evidence to Action News Jax that managers told workers to write fake positive reviews about the company for the Better Business Bureau’s website.
Last week, an Action News Jax investigation revealed Carlson Enterprises failed to fix multiple customers' roofs, months after accepting payment.
A former administrative assistant, who’s asked us to conceal her identity because she fears retaliation, kept a screenshot of multiple messages referencing the reviews.
One message from Carlson Enterprises’ Executive V.P. of Business Development Shawn Crockett told employees, “Do not forget to make your BBB reviews. We need to enhance our appearance on their site. ... We do not want to add the reviews all in the same day on this site.”
“To kind of counteract all those complaints, they literally made all of our sales team go on -- on different days, to not make it look obvious -- and write fake reviews,” the former administrative assistant told Action News Jax.
A follow-up message from Carlson Enterprises’ Chief Operating Officer Daryl Strickland said, “Congratulations and Thank You to all of those that worked hard to improve our customer experience the last few weeks, you know who you are. We have now returned our BBB rating back to A+.”
Action News Jax sent the screen shots to the BBB.
BBB spokesperson Shannon Nelson said the BBB is now blocking incoming reviews for Carlson Enterprises while the organization investigates, because of Action News Jax’s reporting.
Nelson said the BBB typically sends incoming reviews to the company to verify whether the person who wrote it is a customer.
She said the BBB does not accept multiple reviews from the same IP address.
Nelson said there is no way of knowing whether a review is actually coming from an employee.
On Monday afternoon, the website showed the company now has a “D” rating.
Before Action News Jax’s original story aired last week, it was listed as “Not Rated.”
Nelson said reviews do not affect a company’s rating.
Multiple former employees of Carlson Enterprises reached out to Action News Jax after our original story aired, claiming they quit because of what they call shady business practices.
They said the company continues to accept payment even though it does not have the crews to actually get the work done.
“It’s obvious now that Carlson’s reputation is ruined, and I’m just trying to keep my reputation,” former Carlson Enterprises salesman Chickie Dimain said.
Dimain said he quit because the company was not actually doing the roof repairs he was selling to customers.
“I still have one customer that signed up back in February that still does not have a roof,” Dimain said.
Multiple former employees said the crews who used to do the repairs quit.
“Last I heard, they had no crews left,” said Dimain.
The former administrative assistant who saved the BBB messages told Action News Jax the company was broke and couldn’t pay the builders.
“At one point, they all quit and we literally had no one working builds because we weren’t paying them. We didn’t have any money to pay them,” she said.
But that hasn’t stopped the company from accepting payment from new customers.
Carlson Enterprises even had a booth at the Jacksonville Home and Patio Show less than three weeks ago.
“Our accounting department has told us several times that we have no money in house and that we can’t do any builds. We can’t afford the supplies for the builds, which is obviously insane because everybody has paid their money,” said the former administrative assistant.
Another former employee sued the company, claiming he was fired after complaining about OSHA violations that were putting workers’ safety at risk.
That lawsuit appears to have been settled out of court.
Action News Jax’s call on Monday to Strickland asking for his side of the story went straight to voicemail.
Strickland has not returned our call.
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