A homeowner (hopefully) has to replace a roof only once or twice in their lifetime. Because replacing a roof is not a common occurrence, there is little experience to fall back on. This makes homeowners an easy target for a less-than-honest contractor. Homeowners can protect themselves by learning the tactics scammers regularly use. Here are four signs that indicate that you may be getting scammed.
1) The Contractor Asks For Money Up Front
One of the most common scams in the roofing industry is the deposit and dash. A contractor will show up and do a general inspection and then provide the homeowner with an overall inspection and request a down payment for supplies and labor. Once the contractor has received the payment, they disappear, never to be heard from again. You can protect yourself by not dealing with a company that requires an initial down payment before any work has been completed.
2) They Quote One Price, Then Things Start Happening
Contractors are known for delays, but this scam takes delay to whole other level. The contractor will quote a price that is much lower than anyone in the area. Because the homeowner is looking for a deal, they will hire the contractor immediately. Once the job has started, and the homeowner has invested time and/or money into the job, problems will start occurring. Added unforeseen expenses start adding up. The contractor will claim additional damage not accounted for or increases in the cost of materials. By the end of the job, the roof costs significantly more than anticipated. Some contractors will go so far as to hold their roof hostage until payments have been made. Beware of roofing extortion and make sure that the contract you sign with your contractor lists the process of calculating unforeseen costs.
3) The Contractor Shows Up Right After a Storm
With the increase in damaging storms, this scamming tactic has become more and more popular. A group of dishonest roofers will pay attention to weather reports, and follow severe weather systems. When a particularly bad storm occurs, they will go door to door and offer their services by passing out information, offering inspections and cheap roof repair. While many of the roofers do actually repair the roof, they do a minimal subpar job. They will patch the roof but do not address any structural issues or look for any other leaks that may have occurred. This leaves the homeowner with many roofing problems down the line. Of course, when problems occur years later, the contractor cannot be found. Be wary of contractors who pitch cheap roof repair directly after a storm. Always have your insurance inspect your roof first and ask them for recommendations of reputable contractors in your area.
4) You Are Given a Free Roof Inspection Without Requesting One
A classic roofing scam is the door-to-door inspection pitch. Often seen in neighborhoods with older residents, a contractor will offer a free roof inspection. They will go up on the roof and cause damage, or show the homeowners pictures of a completely different roof that has sustained significant damage. They insist that they hire the contractor to fix this “broken” roof. Many homeowners are quick to call the insurance company and ask them to cut them a check to repair the damage. It is important that you never sign a contract until your insurance company has sent out a professional inspector to formally inspect your roof.
Before you have anyone repair your roof, do a thorough check of the company and their reputation. You can also always check if your contractor is licensed through the Texas Dept. Of Licensing and Regulation website. If you feel you are being scammed, you should report the company to Better Business Bureau and the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Always remember, when it comes to roofing, you get what you pay for. Quality roofing may cost more, but in the end you get a roof that will last and give you less problems in the future.