Types of Roofing Scams
Honest, trustworthy, and reliable roofing contractors are having a difficult time dealing with the bad reputations left behind by scammers posing as roofing contractors. These scammers have been taking advantage of customers for years with many different types of schemes. People entrust their hard earned money with contractors who say they’ll do one thing but don’t follow through with their promises. Nowadays, it seems that all you see associated with roofing and roofing contractors, even in the Albany, Ny area is people getting scammed and scammers going to jail for their crimes. It is making it difficult for reliable and quality roofing contractors to get work. We want to share some stories and scams these people use and how you can steer clear from them.
Storm Chaser Roofing ContractorsIn this scenario, storm chasers are roofing contractors that show up from out of town to areas that have been hit with hail, wind or sever rain storms that have caused massive damage within one specific area. They usually offer to repair or replace your roof quickly. Once they receive your downpayment or payment, they will never show up to fix or replace your roof. They typically won’t answer your phone calls or the call will go directly to voicemail. This is a very common practice with scammers in the roofing industry. You will start to see the same pattern develop with the different schemes they use. They will be persistent in trying to have you pay them up front for the work. How do you avoid this scam tactic? Before signing anything, always check their business online to see what types of reviews people have left for them. If they do not exist online, chances are that this company was just formed, or the name changed to avoid.
“Time Is Against You” ScenarioTime is always one of those things that can be used against you when trying to get your roof replaced. Just like the storm chasers the scammer will try and get the job signed quickly. Then, when it comes to doing the work the scammers will keep putting off the work. This can be a very tricky situation to be in, especially because the good contractors often have a wait time due to weather conditions and being backed up with other jobs. Although it is normal practice for a roofing company to ask for a downpayment on a contract, you should never pay a majority or the contract in full before the work is completed. If the job keeps getting pushed back for more than 3-4 weeks and the contractor is less reluctant to pick up the phone and weather is not an obstacle, it is safe to assume there might be a bigger problem. If you have paid for the roofing job in full, or a majority of the contract and it has been over 3-4 weeks without communication from the contractor, it is a good chance that you were scammed.
Targeting Specific Groups
There are also scam artists that will attempt to target a specific group of people like senior citizens or single mothers because of certain vulnerabilities. They will often times do the same thing as the other scammers in the previous scenarios. They will target these groups of people because of the lack of knowledge of construction and ability to take action if something happens. Many senior citizens will not question the authority and reliability of the contractor and have little to no knowledge of the scams associated with roofing and home improvement. People will often figure out they were scammed after a long period of time of leaving phone calls and no returns.
Leaving damages on the RoofIn this scenario, shady contractors or scammers will initially ask to do an inspection on the roof. They will then proceed to fabricate damages themselves in order to get the work covered by insurance or force you to pay higher costs than necessary to repair your roof. It is a despicable practice but it does happen. There are many reports of contractors leaving the customer confused because everything was good before the contractor go onto the roof, or the work quoted far exceeds the scope of work initially needed simply because the damage has been done by the contractor himself. The contractor should be monitored when doing a roof inspection to limit these things from happening. Although this is easily spotted by an inspector or a quality roofing contractor, the damage has already been done.
There have even been reports of a bad roofing contractor coming to homes and giving estimates to the home owner when the home owner wasn’t interested in the roof replacement. The homeowner then had another roofing company come out to do an inspection and were told that everything was fine and that nothing needed to be replaced.
How to Stay Alert
When calling on a roofing contractor, it is crucial to take some precautions that will later provide you with a peace of mind. It is important, as a homeowner to do your research before contacting any roofing company. How long have they been in business for? If they have not been in business for long, do they have any references from work they have done? Usually if they’ve only been open for a year they have most likely don’t have a lot of reviews and business to sufficiently assess if they are a reputable company. Check and look at the reviews they have on their business accounts like the Better Business Bureau, Home Advisor, or Angie’s List. most people will tell you how it is. Look at their ratings and see if they are a good fit for your home improvement needs.
Check and see if they have the proper insurance, that covers if the contractor gets hurt on the job the business will be able to take care of all their hospital bills instead of the home owner. This is usually the deal breaker when it comes to hiring a good contractor from bad. Usually the scammers will be set up with no insurance and having little to no history in the industry. Don’t just automatically agree to something you’re not comfortable with, let them know that you want to get another perspective. Do your research before doing anything, get to know who you’re getting in to work with. Don’t always assume everything will be done right, make sure you get everything u want done to be done. Leaving things out of contracts will leave you upset when these contractors don’t do what you assumed needed to be done. If a contractor makes u pay in full for a job that hasn’t been started yet that’s a sure sign of a scam. No one should pay in full, just a small down payment is needed to start a job.
Make sure the contractor is registered depending if it is necessary to be registered in your state. There’s different regulations in different states, so make sure that the contractor follows the law of your state. Don’t ever allow for contractors to pick out your insurance plans for you always have a grasp on what you think is right in the first place. Review the roof beforehand, look at the entire roof to see how it looks before calling up the contractor, this will prevent any distrust when he brings up some problems. Having some references on the contractor you want to hire is the best option for you, it limits scammers, and has a good example of their work ethic along with the quality of their work. Getting a second opinion on a job is really helpful to prevent scams from happening. Scammers negatively affect both customers and other good, hardworking contractors, take the time and research before going through with a roof repair or replacement.