When people are grateful for the home, they have they often mention how blessed they are to have a “roof over their head.” The roof of your home is one of the most valuable and defining assets of your home. Unfortunately, scammers know this all too well, coming up with a variety of ways to profit from pressure-based tactics. People that are most susceptible to scams include homeowners with roof damage or the elderly. Here are a few roofing scams and how you can avoid them.
Insurance Claim Frauds (Invoices)
Some scammers often pose as “roofing companies” and present you with a very affordable invoice for your roof repair or replacement. However, don’t be fooled by the price that is presented to you. Often, scammers generate two separate invoices. Aside from the one given to you, these scammers will also create another invoice that totes a much higher cost. Taking this higher-priced invoice, they will submit the claim to your insurance company and pocket the cash. Often, these “roofers” will nail a few shingles to your roof and call it a day.
How to Avoid:
- Carefully read what the invoice entails. If the roofer offers to pay for the insurance deductible and offers no-cost incentives/promises, this is a sign of a scam.
- This means you’re paying for low-quality services while the scammer pockets the surplus amount they get from your insurance company. This leaves you with less money and a damaged roof.
- Rule of thumb: If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
In the event of heavy forecasted weather, storm chasers will often approach homes with roofs that could use repairs and urge the homeowners to fork out a downpayment on repairing their roof. These slimy salesmen will often use pressure, and fear-based tactics try to force your hand into purchasing their novice repairs or insurance plans. Here is usually how the process goes.
- The scam artists will approach door-to-door, offering heavily discounted or even free roofing services in the event of heavy weather approaching.
- They will urge the homeowner to file a homeowner’s insurance claim. This is one of the ways they can get paid.
- They will ask for an up-front payment.
- Claim that your insurance company sent them.
- When they manage to convince the homeowner, they will perform a speedy roofing job and sometimes leave the roof in an even worse condition.
If you are approached by these storm chasers, the next step is figuring out how to chase them away. Here are some guidelines.
- Stay Calm — storm chasers prey on the anxious and fearful. Remaining calm and stoic will reverse this effect.
- Ask for credentials (license & insurance)
- If they are not specially licensed by the Oregon Construction Contractors Board or your local municipality, they are not legit.
- Real roofing contractors are also insured, offering workman’s compensation. Ask for this verification.
- Tell Them You Will Review and Get Back to Them
- Take their requests and information in mind and say that you will compare quotes. If they jump and become urgent in their asking, take it as a sure-fire sign that they are scammers
- Close Your Door
- After you’ve gathered their “company” information, close the door. Should they try to pull something shady on your property, you’ll have appropriate contact information.
Strangers You Never Called
Another scam tactic is when scammers approach your posing as a reputable roofing company you have never heard of. Aside from handing business cards and doing their best to persuade you that they are indeed trustworthy, they will often offer to look at your roof for free. What they do not realize is that most reputable roofing contractors and companies already offer free roof inspections. Their real motive is to get on your roof and cause notable damage. They will turn around and will comment on damage to your roof that they’re willing to fix. Here are some ways you can avoid this.
- Unless you’ve called to have a roof inspection done, don’t let anyone on your roof.
- Offer to take their contact information. This is just in case the scammer intends to do anything shady.
- Ask them to leave your property.
Avoid taking on low or “affordable” bids from “roofing contractors.” This is usually a sign that as your roof repair takes place, they will upcharge you with “hidden fees” and multiply your total costs, leaving you with little to no real maintenance done at a ridiculous price. Here are ways you can avoid this scam.
- Compare bids w/ other companies
- Let them know that you will get back to them. Making it clear that you are not interested in their immediate service is paramount.
- Gather Roof Estimates from reputable companies, preferably by companies with Free Roof Inspections.
- Do not use a roofing cost estimator. Ask other potential roofing companies about their estimates. Afterward, compare prices, service, and proven customer service records.