The number of reported roofing scams every year is increasing. With the large sum of investment that goes into roof repair, falling prey to a fraudulent company is one of the worst nightmares a homeowner can have.
You also run the risk of paying much higher price for the job than the actual market price. Here're a few examples of how some roofers are trying to rob you of your money. You'll also find out suggestions to avoid such unfortunate situations.
1. Cause a problem that never existed before
It’s one of the most prevalent roof repair scams in which contractors point out a problem that you never noticed before. Contractors who offer door to door services or free inspections usually use this tactic to fool homeowners. They get onto your roof and then deliberately cause damage. What can you do when you can see the damage with your own eyes? You’ll obviously be inclined to hire the roofer who noticed it and offered his help. Wouldn’t you?
Another way to do this is when you hire a roofing contractor for one task and then suddenly, he tells you there’s another problem that needs to be fixed. Roof repair services usually inspect your property beforehand and then give you an estimate. If there’s suddenly a new issue which apparently didn’t exist before, there are high chances that the roofer is trying to rob you of your money.
What’s the way out? Don’t fall for the door to door services or unbelievable offers. Hire a contractor after doing proper research, ask them to inspect the situation carefully and tell you about all possible damages. You’ll then get an idea of what to expect while the contractor is at work.
2. Asking for advance payment & never showing up for the job
I’m sure if a roofer is reading this, he’ll go mad at this point. With the kind of equipment and supplies that go into a roof repair job, it isn’t impractical to ask for an advance. It’s very unusual, though. A reputable roof repair service must have enough equipment and money to work on a new task.
At the same time, some homeowners paid the roofer and never heard from him again. The contractor would seem to be perfect and ask you for payment to start working on your project right away. But just after you pay them, they come up with excuses. Some pending project, some workplace injury or bad weather – they’ll always get better of you.
The way to avoid such situations is to have a written contract before you pay the money. Also, you shouldn’t be asked to pay the full amount in advance. Prefer to pay via credit card or bank transfer so that you have the written proof that you made the payment. Last but not the least, don’t hire an unlicensed contractor. They must show you their license before you even let them inspect the roof damage.
3. Helping the insurance companies to make the fool out of you
You can never really trust insurance companies. So, when they recommend a roofer to you, you must do your research. Let me explain this by an example. Say you need a roof replacement job. Now, replacing the entire roof would cost around $20,000.
A reputable roofer will inspect the roof and do the whole job if it’s required and charge you the mentioned price. They’ll push the insurance company to cover the full replacement. But a roofer that your insurance company will suggest would naturally favor the insurance company. So, he wouldn’t mind replacing your roof with a cheaper material.
This cost cutting will wrap up the job in $15,000. Who benefits from this more? The insurance company. You got a less than perfect job and lower quality roof than what you had before; without even being aware of it.
4. Not showing you the pictures of work done
Now, clicking pictures of the work done isn’t a necessity. It isn’t required as per the contract or by law. But good roofers often do it so that the customer is fully aware of the roof situation. If you’re an old person who would probably never go to the roof to check the work, you’re most prone to this kind of scam.
As they know you wouldn’t check, they use the old material or do a sub-standard job. These types of roof repair services usually don’t turn up when you call them during a troublesome situation. They know that they have done a bad job and wouldn’t help fix it.
So, it’s in your interest to ask the roofer to show you before and after pictures of the complete area which they worked on.
5. They’ll predict severe hailstorm damage to your property
Hailstorm damage is real, but it isn’t as likely as some scammers make it sound. Roof repair scam reports are piling up, and hailstorm damage is the biggest weapon in the arsenal of such fraud companies. After a hailstorm, they turn up at your doors, tell you about the possibility of severe damage, offer you great discounts and help to get the insurance claim. All of this sound so flashy and alluring that you wouldn’t feel there’s anything wrong.
Don’t look up to your neighbors. They’re also equally likely to give into such scams. Oh! Don’t even think about letting them check the roof for the damage. Hailstorm damage is so random that they can easily fake it by using a small hammer or rock. So, even if you do suspect you have a damaged roof, do your research and take the time to find a good roof repair company. Only then should you hire one.
6. They’ll pressure you to sign the contract
Isn’t it a safe practice to sign a contract before you hire? Not if the contractor is pressurizing you to sign it quickly. It’s a sign of a big scam. There must be some clause or some point which he’s hiding from you. The haste to sign the contract is often a result of such shady terms. Don’t feel pressurized. Take time to do the research and then sign the contract.
These are the six most common ways roofers use to rob you of your money. They might do that by charging you more for an individual job, providing low-quality work or using low-quality equipment to increase their profits or just run away with your money. You must be careful and keep an eye out for roof repair scams for the protection of your interests. Have you ever had a bad experience with such a contractor? What happened?