5 Common Roofing Scams and Steps to Avoid Them
When faced with the daunting task of repairing or replacing your roof, the last thing you should have to worry about is being tricked. Unfortunately, like most industries, the roofing industry is susceptible to scams that can leave families even more strapped for cash and with a shoddy finished product.
When choosing a company for your roofing project, there are several red flags to watch out for in order to avoid falling victim to a scam.
1. Storm Chasers
You are probably quite familiar with “storm chasers.” These aptly-named companies tend to blanket an area with reps immediately following a bad storm. You may have knocked on your door from several different companies offering fast repairs at enticing prices. But beware: storm chasers are looking to repair as many roofs as quickly as possible.
They are also typically out-of-state, which means they have no local contact information or ties to the community. The result is often shoddy work with no one to hold accountable when they disappear.
In some cases, storm chasers may offer to repair your roof even if it does not need it. In particular, watch for these scenarios:
● Someone who claims to have repaired a neighbor’s roof nearby and has extra materials on hand then offers to repair your roof at a discounted price
● Someone who tells you that, because of the storm, you can get a new roof for free when you file a claim with your insurance company
2. Unexplained Damage
These scammers tend to pop up randomly rather than after a big storm. They may knock on your door with the altruistic claim that they “couldn’t help but notice” some kind of major damage on your roof that should be repaired immediately for your safety. The damage is usually vague and seemingly inappreciable to the “untrained eye.”
The roofer may offer to inspect the “damage” for free, and then return with the bad news that there are major repairs needed, possibly even a full replacement. In many cases, there is minor damage or no damage at all; there have even been instances where these individuals create damage on the roof.
3. High-Pressure Sales or Required Down Payments
While you are encouraged to shop around for different quotes for your roof, keep one thing in mind: if a price seems too good to be true, it is. You may have a roofing company representative show up at your door with a “limited time offer” that requires you to sign a contract that day if you want to take advantage of it.
That low starting price may rise significantly due to “unforeseen circumstances” during the actual repairs process. A quality roofer will work with you and your insurance company to determine the correct scope and pricing for your project.
Once a contract is signed, a roofer may then insist on a large down payment* for materials or that the first insurance check you receive be signed over to him/her. The work is then left unfinished and the roofer is nowhere to be found. Seniors and homes without a mortgage are particularly vulnerable to these schemes.
*It is a large down payment that should be considered a red flag. A request for a down payment of 20% or less is reasonable for an honest roofer.
4. Insurance Fraud
In some cases, a dishonest roofer may attempt to defraud your insurance company. They can do this in several ways, but one common method is to create two separate invoices: one for you, and a much higher one for your insurance company. They may also offer to pay or waive your deductible-a practice that constitutes insurance fraud in many states, including Colorado.
5. Cheap Materials
A roofer looking to force you into repeat business and increase his/her profit margins may use low-quality materials to begin with, basically guaranteeing the work will need to be repaired or replaced sooner.
How Can I Avoid Being a Victim of Roofing Scams?
The simplest answer to this question is: go local. Take your time and find a trusted, local roofer who has a physical address and phone number and great customer reviews. Local roofers have an obligation to their communities and a reputation to maintain-your satisfaction is what keeps them in business. In addition to researching a local roofer, the following steps can help you avoid becoming a target of roofing scammers:
● Do not allow an uninvited contractor to inspect your roof or contact your insurance company.
● Do not accept any high-pressure offers or anyone giving you a time limit to make a decision.
● Check the roofing company’s credentials and score with the Better Business Bureau.
● Do your research, obtain several quotes, and choose the company that feels right for you. Despite what your insurance company might have you believe, you do not have to choose the company that gives you the lowest bid.
J&K Roofing is Here to Help
J&K Roofing is an A+ rating local roofer with the Better Business Bureau and hundreds of five-star reviews from our customers. When a storm hits, you can be vulnerable to scams. Instead of dealing with the added stress of trying to field storm chasers and high-pressure sales reps, give us a call. We will provide you with sound advice, fair pricing, the highest quality workmanship, and a Calm after the Storm℠