A roofing scam pandemic is sweeping the nation. So far, there have been scams uncovered in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Pennsylvania and even Canada. These scams are being pulled off by different people and companies, usually in the form of door to door salesmen. The good news is, if you know what to look for, you can avoid being taken for granted by these scams.
The Down Payment Scam
In this case, a roofing contractor will bid extremely low on roofing estimates, charge a hefty down payment, and then desert the job site with the roof incomplete. Not only do you loose the money you pay as a down payment, but you need to hire another contractor to fix the roof. How to avoid this scam:
- Research a roofing company before you hire them. Some places to do this include the Better Business Bureau and Angies List.
- Keep in mind that if a price or a company looks too good to be true, they probably are. Ask for references you can call to hear past experience with the contractor.
- Ask to see their business license or check them online by searching for your local division of professional and occupational licensing.
- Before you pay a contractor anything, be sure to have a contract stating exactly what the contractor will be accomplishing.
- Most importantly, before hiring a roofing contractor, make sure that you have valid company information such as a phone number, address, and preferably a website. You can check if they are valid in the local phonebook. A company should always be open about their basic information.
Roofing Theives Scam
This scam involves door-to-door salesmen. Usually, one person will come to your door and offer a free roof inspection or repair. Once inside and consuming your attention, another person will come into your home searching for valuables such as money and jewelery they can put into their pockets. How to avoid this scam:
- Check a salesman’s identification when they are approaching you for work. Most valid companies will display these on their clothes and transportation.
- Do not allow people into your home claiming to repair your roof for free. There is no such thing as a free roof repair.
- Before hiring a roofer and allowing them to work on your roof, get at least three other roofing bids. Research all companies on the Better Business Bureau or Angies List.
The Mandatory Inspection Scam
These scam artists target manufactured homes because the homeowners often do not know who installed their roof. They will call or come to your door claiming that your home is due for a mandatory inspection for your roof warranty. They will then report the need for a large (unnecessary) repair that “the warranty does not fully cover”. How to avoid this scam:
- Know who installed your roof, as well as who the other contractors were who worked on your home. If an inspector comes by cannot identify them, don’t let them in your home.
- Be familiar with your roof warranty. Know if there are inspections necessary and how often they are. It is also good to have a copy of your warranty so you know what costs are covered.
- Before allowing anyone to work on your roof, contact the roofing company to verify that the repair men are actual employees and were sent there for the reasons they claim.
Free Roof Scam
In this situation, a roofing company claims to be able to offer you a ‘free roof’. After a hail-storm, they will come offering a free inspection for damage. They will then report that your home needs a large repair or new roof. However, they claim to be able to waive your home insurance fees, so in essence you will be getting a free roof. This is not true, and you will end up paying every unnecessary penny. How to avoid this scam:
- Check the National Weather Service to see if the hail storm was classified as being able to cause damage. Also, check other areas of your property for damage. If the hail didn’t damage your plants, it didn’t damage your roof.
- Again, check the contractor’s reputation through the Better Business Bureau or Angie’s List. If they have been conducting scams, it will most likely be reported there.
- Ask for a second opinion. Get a few different roofing estimates to ensure that the repairs they are claiming you need are valid.
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