Year-after-year thousands of homeowners fall prey to roofing company scams. Your roof is the first line of defense against the elements, so of course, you want to make sure it is in good working condition. But many homeowners have limited experience finding good roof repair contractors and can become victims of common roofing scams.
Here are some of the roofing red flags to look out for when considering roof repair or replacement, particularly during hurricane season.
Avoid The Door-To-Door Salesman
After a major storm or weather event, as you are still recovering from the incident, you may hear a knock on your door. When you open it, you come face-to-face with a friendly roofer, offering you a free roof inspection as a service to the community.
Do not be fooled. Door-to-door salesmen are trained to sell and sell hard. They will do everything in their power to manipulate you into allowing them onto your roof. If your roof is in perfect working order when they jump onto it, it’s likely you will have some sort of damage when they come down.
These door-to-door scammers use ball peen hammers to replicate hail damage or rip off shingles to make their claims of wind damage more believable. Their ‘evidence’ needs to be convincing enough for your insurance to accept a damage claim. They will then pretend to do work, or do a terrible job, that requires you to claim for more roofing repair a year or two down the line.
Another option of the hardened scammer is to try and convince unsuspecting customers not to put in an insurance claim, and instead pay the scammers a ‘low’ price to do the work off the record. Instead of doing anything, they just take the money and leave.
While there are occasional honest door-to-door roofers, a general rule of thumb is to be very cautious when someone knocks on your door out of the blue offering help. Rather be safe and choose a local, trusted and reputable roofing contractor.
Always Read The Fine Print
Never sign something you have not read.
Fraudulent roofers will wave documents in your face and claim to give you a summary of what the documents say, so you sign without reading what you’re putting your name to. They may also add a sense of urgency into the mix, by saying that your roof issue needs to be fixed as soon as possible and can’t wait for you to mull things over or speak to anyone else.
You should also always be in communication with your insurance company, and never sign anything without speaking to your insurance first.
A major roofing red flag comes in the form of an Assignment of Benefits (AOB) document. An AOB gives permission to a third party, in this case, a roofing contractor, to file an insurance claim, make repair decisions and collect insurance payments on your behalf. It means you won’t be involved in the process at all.
An AOB does have benefits. For example, a pipe bursts while you are on vacation and the plumber you have used for the last 10 years asks you to sign an AOB so he can fix it easily. Problems arise when a roofing contractor pressures you into signing an AOB from the get-go.
Full Payment Upfront
You should not have to pay a roofing contractor more than a fair deposit ( normally 10-20% of the entire job cost) before any work has been done. Fraudulent roofers might trick you into believing they need all the money upfront to purchase materials, or to hire people to complete the job.
They might spin a sob story, and tell you that they have been scammed by homeowners just like you before. You then feel guilty, because surely the contractors need to feed their families?
Scammers will play on your emotions to get you to pay for their work upfront, then disappear with your money. They will do anything in their power to guilt you into working with them and handing over your hard-earned cash. In the end, you lose out, and they walk away with your money.
Quick Roofing Red Flags
- Free inspections from door-to-door salesmen
- Urgent demands for you to sign paperwork without reading
- Requests for Assignment of Benefits
- Roofers discouraging you from talking to your insurance
- Too-good-to-be-true quotes
- Sob stories and requests for all the money before work starts
One of the best ways to protect yourself against roofing scams is to get multiple quotes from local, trustworthy roofing contractors. A local roofing business won’t skip town on you, and will likely have reviews from satisfied customers in your neighborhood. When it comes to your roof, don’t jump the gun. Make sure you find a reliable company like ABC Roofing Corp today!