Storm Season and Roofing Scams

by Cubby on July 2, 2012

Storm Season Brings out the Roofing Scam Artists

Beware of the top roofing scams during Hurricane / Storm Seasons. 

Scam No. 1:  Door to Door un-announced salesman.  They are the Masters of the One-Call-Close, high pressure and won’t take no for an answer.  This type of company concentrates their efforts on the elderly and single homeowners, will always strike in the area’s right after a storm and when homeowners need help the most…  The scam starts with a free inspection of the roof and ends up   finding lots of damage that can’t be seen from the street or ground level.  Most homeowners never climb up on the roof to have a look for themselves.  Sometimes shingles come off and holes magically appear during this free inspection or they will show you pictures of other jobs with the same color roof that had damage to prove work needs to be done immediately.  Beware of work that needs immediate attention, right now, can’t wait another minute.  Quick, fast decision’s usually cost more in the long run.

Scam No. 2:  Down payment stolen. Get the down payment and skip town! This scam seems to happen most when the bid to repair the roof is the lowest bid so the deal sounds very good.  Since most insurance checks are made out directly to the homeowner and the mortgagee if there is a mortgage on the home it is easy to ask for large down payments to buy material and hire labor.  Sometimes the homeowner is even asked to sign over the entire check prior to starting the job.  We have even heard of asking to hold the insurance check in lieu of a cash down payment and then forging an endorsement stamp on the back to cash or deposit the check and then leave town.  Never pay for material until it is delivered to the job site.  Down payments are common in the home improvement industry but they should not be more than 50% of the total job cost.  Work out payment options based on delivery of product and hold at least 50% until job is completed to your satisfaction.  This keeps you from getting ripped off. 

Ways to avoid roofing scams:

  1. Check the company for insurance.  Liability, workers compensation, property damage insurance.
  2. Check for certifications such as National Roofing Contractors Association.
  3. Get everything in writing before work starts.
  4. Make sure you inspect your roof personally, even if you don’t know what you are looking for.
  5. Get a lien release once paid in full.
  6. Make sure the contractor pulls the permit.
  7. Check the BBB for ratings.
  8. No more than a 50% deposit and hold balance until finished to your satisfaction.
  9. Check for proper licenses and insurance before work is started.
  10. Get proof of shingles being replaced, not re-nailed.

There are lots of home improvement scams out there but roofing seems to be in the top 2 year after year.  Make sure you choose an Expert for your roof repairs to protect yourself.  You can find a roofing Expert for your area at www.preferredhomeexperts.com .

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