Roofing Scam Alert
We here at TriStar encourage you to be mindful of scammers this storm season in North Texas. Since February 2015, there have been at least 16 home repair scams reported to the Better Business Bureau, according to The Leader. The process of evaluating storm damage, contacting your insurance company and hiring a contractor to repair your home’s roof is stressful, but proceed with caution when hiring laborers to fix one of your home’s most valuable assets: the roof.
At TriStar, your comfort is important to us, so to help you avoid any swindlers out there, we have listed some of the most common roofing scams below. If you believe you may be the victim of a roofing scam, we ask that you please report any suspicious activity to local police.
The Disappearing Down Payment
If you have hired a contractor to repair or replace your roof, never sign over your whole insurance check. Anyone asking for a large down payment, or for the entire cost of the project to be paid up front, is not someone you want to be doing business with. Opt to search for a repair team that will let you pay in installments, and always create and sign a contract detailing the work to be done and the specifics of your payment plan.
Door-to-Door Salesman Scam
Real, successful contractors have a home office and advertise themselves online, via billboards and through other reputable means. Anyone traveling door-to-door is more than likely more bark than bite and could be trying to take advantage of you and your home’s situation.
Additionally, it’s important to know scam claims made to the Better Business Bureau spike after heavy storms. “Storm chasers” follow storms and prey on people whose roofs and homes have been damaged. What’s worse is they often do a bad job and merely patch your roof, so when the next storm comes, you are left with yet more damage and have to start all over.
Be wary of anyone who comes to your door asking if you need your roof repaired, especially if they offer you a free inspection. Sometimes these inspections, if allowed, create an opportunity for fraudulent roofing contractors to create damage, which will make it more likely that they get the “yes” from you they wanted all along.
High-Pressure Sales Pitches
You may be wondering, “Who would do business with someone who puts you under a lot of pressure and resorts to scare tactics?” But when you are caught in a vulnerable situation that needs to be fixed quickly, your guard is down, and you might be taken advantage of more easily. Any contractor who tries to get you to sign a contract on the spot and pay any amount up front is likely just peddling a scam. Take some time to look at other contractors in your area and consider other options before signing a legally binding contract.
Have you been offered a deal on your roof replacement that is too good to be true? It’s probably because it is. In the common fluctuating bid scam, contractors offer a low price up front only to raise it once the work has begun. This scam can be avoided by going over terms with a reputable contractor and signing an agreement that details terms, pricing and work to be done.
With all these scams, how do you know who to trust?
Ask your friends and family who they go to for roofing repairs, or go local through a company like TriStar. Also, check out these tips from our friends at Angie’s List before signing an agreement with any contractor.