You’re not surprised to see someone at your door soliciting for roof repairs, but you know that with the economy on the mend and natural disasters in the area that scammers will look for potential victims.
Oh, they’ll offer all kinds of perks with their free inspection, including a roof that needs lots of repairs or total replacement. They’ll urge you to submit a claim to your insurance company. They’re polite, know what to say, and are helpful.
What do Do
So, what should you do if a supposed roofer comes to your door wanting to sign you up for a new roof or roofing repair work? What can you do to not become a victim of unscrupulous repair schemes? Here are some signs to look for when they come knocking.
A con-artist contractor will ask for a large down payment before any work begins. An unsuspecting homeowner hands over the money and the contractor vanishes, never to be seen or heard from again.
Rather than ask for a large down payment, a disreputable contractor will charge a fee before giving the homeowner a bid. A real contractor won’t charge a fee to place a bid.
A shady contractor will provide residential roofing services but will use inferior materials. The work has to be redone. An example of shoddy work includes using an inferior grade of wood improperly treated for local weather conditions or other materials that are unworkable.
Offering to pay your insurance deductible is another way that an unscrupulous contractor attempts to win your bid. You should be suspect of an offer like this.
If you’ve had terrible weather, including hail storms, in your area and if it the storms were severe enough, scammers (storm chasers) are likely to be out in droves. Many are con-artists attempting to pose as real roofing contractors. Watch for them and thwart their attempts to take your money and run. They’ll do shoddy work with no recourse.
Sometimes an unprincipled contractor may try to create damage by purposely destroying parts of your roof and presenting it as actual damage during an inspection. Fortunately, most trained insurance adjusters can easily spot fake damage.
Worsening Preexisting Damage
Some contractors may create damage on purpose while others will increase the damage amount that is already there hoping to increase the total repair bill. Others will try to make repairs that look good on the surface but haven’t been repaired effectively.
If the deductible on your insurance is high and a contractor offers to repair damage at a cheap price, and the contractor tells you not to pay your deductible and you’re then expected to pay cash for the job, red flags should go up. Cutting out your homeowner’s insurance is not a good idea as it’s fraud.
Many times a dishonest roofer will use subcontractors to complete roofing jobs. Subcontractors will often use inferior materials and work quickly for a small part of the profit. Sometimes they receive no compensation at all. They often lack the basics in roof repair and have no insurance or license to back them. Many times they’ll leave a mess for you to clean up along with a shoddily repaired roof that requires a do over.
There will be anxious moments with a roof that needs serious repair or even replacement. You’re wanting to get the job done quickly. Watch out, you’re likely to latch onto someone coming to your rescue looking for ill-gotten gains. An incompetent or phony contractor will prey on your anxiety and rush to repair your roof.
Here are some tips to follow to prevent becoming a roofing scam victim:
- For one thing, as a homeowner you want to remain ever vigilant. You don’t want to be a victim of phony roof repair jobs or any other scams for that matter.
- One way to check the legitimacy of a roofing contractor, especially when someone comes to your door, is through the Better Business Bureau or organizations that represent roofing contractors. Call them for verification.
- Always ask to see a business license and any other documentation that proves that the roofing contractor is legitimate. Ask to see insurance certificates for liability and workmen’s compensation. Make sure the contractor carries both.
- Be wary of any contractor who says he has a relationship or understanding with your homeowner’s insurance company. If someone comes to your door unannounced with no appointment and claims to represent your insurer, ask for identification and also confirm their legitimacy with your insurance company before granting access to your home.
- A real roofing contractor will request a reasonable down payment as earnest money and money for roofing materials. You should be suspicious if the amount requested goes beyond 20% of the total bill. Anything beyond this, say 50 to 75%, is definitely questionable.
- Professional appearance is important, and anyone who is a legitimate contractor will speak and act professionally. There should also be a company logo on a vehicle, a phone number, a business card and other identifiers. If someone comes to your home with no identifying information, find a legitimate roofing contractor.
- To coordinate any repairs, consult with your insurance agent and be sure that anyone representing you, including an insurance adjuster, understands the repair process and is fully aware of the steps involved. When handled this closely, it can stop any suspect activity before it starts.
Before you let your roofing problems get the best of you, sit down and tell yourself, I’m going to look for licensed roof repair near me rather than falling for all the different shortcuts and scams that are out there. You don’t want to get caught up in the attempt to hurry through a roofing job and totally regret it later because you were too eager to get the work done and didn’t want to go through the insurance process in hopes of saving money. Whether or not that’s the case, complete the online contact form and a real roofing representative will get back to you with everything you need to know about avoiding roofing scams.