MANSFIELD, Mass. — Mansfield Police are publicly apologizing to a local contractor for telling residents and businesses to avoid his roofing company, but he's saying the apology is too little, too late.
Chris Fitzsimons, who owns Easton Roofing, says his company was roped into a post by the police department exposing scam contractors, something Fitzsimons says he's not.
"After I came home from work last night my phone started blowing up," said Fitzsimons. "I got a text from a good friend saying, 'Did you look at Facebook?'"
The post in question was a picture with eight company logos, saying things like, "Can anyone recommend a terrible contractor?"
Ftizsimons says he was shocked to see his name listed as one of the contractors to avoid.
"Once that hit social media, it just spread like a virus," said Ftizsimons. "It was out there and there was no stopping it. Claiming someone is a criminal and not actually fact-checking it."
The post also said to call 911 if you saw one of the companies operating or advertising their services.
"A lot of our business is referrals and its through the local town pages, the local mom's page, Easton, Mansfield moms page and they say, 'Who do you recommend?'" said Fitzsimons.
The post has since been removed from the police department's page.
Fitzsimons says the department spoke to his company and then launched an investigation, saying that before putting the post out there they hadn't reached out to him or his employees.
The local business owner believes he has and will continue to lose business over the ordeal.
"The damage is already done, its out there now and I'm trying to un-ring that bell," said Fitzsimons.
While he says the damage is done, Fitzsimons hopes this mistake will lead more care in the future with posts that could tarnish someone's reputation so easily, especially for small businesses like his.
"We teach our kids not to put something on social media that you don’t want to be there forever," said Fitzsimons. "The fact that it’s a police department perhaps they should re-look at who is responsible for their social media and that someone else is checking them before it gets posted."
In a statement, Mansfield Chief of Police Ronald Sellon told Boston 25 News:
"The information related to the businesses in question was obtained and verified through a meeting with the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Upon discovering that Easton Roofing is a legitimate business, we immediately removed the post, updated the EOLWD, and issued a retraction as we would in any instance where a mistake was made. We've personally and publicly apologized to the owner of Easton Roofing."
Cox Media Group