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Roofing Scams - How to Avoid Storm Chasers and Con Men

Roofing scams are not entirely uncommon, and are more frequent after a high wind or hail storm where communities receive significant roof damage. Particularly at risk are the elderly and handicapped who may have more trouble assessing the damage themselves. That means it is important to get background checks on your roofing contractors, to see if they are legitimate contractors as well as to assess the quality of their work.

Roof Scam Examples

Roof scams are usually initiated by a ’salesmen’ going door to door offering to do roofing repair for a low price. He may even say the crew has leftover material from a nearby job they just finished allowing them to pass some savings on to the next customer. The ’contractor’ will typically ask for cash up front, and will not leave legitimate contact information, references, or even show a business license. The roof will be sloppily finished or left unfinished as the person or crew leaves before the homeowner realizes what has happened leaving the victim with little or nothing to go on.

How to Avoid Being taken in a Roof Scam

Warning Signs:

  • You are being pressured to hire the company because of a great price that is a "limited time offer". Particularly if there has been wide spread damage in your area you should be wary of someone pushing a cheap rate.
  • You are asked to pay for a significant percentage or all of the job in advance.
  • The roofers are not from your local area. Storm chasers (Travelers) will follow the most recent damage looking to make some quick money with the opportunity brought by hail and thunderstorm damage, etc...

Tips to avoid being scammed:

  • Never agree to pay cash up front before the job is completed. This should be a strong indicator off the get go as legitimate contractors will not usually ask for cash up front.
  • Be sure to ask for references, and check to make sure they have their contractor license and insurance up to date.
  • Call the Better Business Bureau for your area (or the area of the company) to check if there have been any complaints against them.
  • Request a written contract with the details of the work to be done as well as the agreed price.
  • Always get a phone number and an address for the roofing ’company’ they represent. Call and/or visit the company to confirm that they do exist and employ the person you have talked to.

Lastly, remember that a scam will usually involve the work to be done immediately since the con man doesn't want to give you extra time to discover what they are. If the salesperson insists on starting the job as soon as possible be sure that you have checked the company out thoroughly before handing over money.

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