Many homeowners do not pay much attention to their roof until a storm occurs and there is a need for urgent repair. This means that you may not know how to tell whether it is damaged or not. Unfortunately, many scammers use this lack of experience and knowledge to rip homeowners off their hard earned money. If you don’t want anyone to take advantage of you, you need to pay attention to the following roofing scams and learn how to avoid them.
1. The Storm-Chaser
These scammers go to different parts of the country and prey on fearful residents in areas hit by serious storms. Some of them tell homeowners that they will help them inspect their roof and they present fake photos showing extensive damage. Other scammers approach residents in homes with damaged roofs, promising to undertake repairs or install a new roof at a low cost. Thereafter, the scammer will install a substandard roof so the homeowner will have to replace it within a few years. The company will suddenly disappear after the construction.
2. The Door-to-door Salesman
This type of scam starts with someone who shows up at your doorstep without any prior announcement or contact and offers to help you do a freeinspection of your roof. This person will climb up the roof and fabricate damage, or show you pictures of another roof that has been damaged and state that it is your roof. Such salesmen have learned to manipulate unsuspecting homeowners and sell hard. They are particularly good at targeting seniors. Although some salesmen come from genuine roofing companies, it is better to turn down the offer if anyone arrives at your door offering to do a free roof inspection.
3. The Aggressive Salesperson
You should never be pressured into signing a major roofing contract. If any salesperson puts pressure on you during a consultation to agree to certain terms or sign a contract, it is better to refuse and walk away. Roofing contracts are quite detailed and should never be rushed. If the salesperson tells you that the special deal or promotional discount is ending soon, tell them to extend their offer or quit the deal.
Legitimate professional roofers will not force you to agree to their terms. They will not insist on selling their service unless you actually need what they are offering. Beware of salespeople who are so eager to close a deal without allowing you to get referrals or talk to another roofing company. A legitimate roofing contractor will allow you to have the time you need to make an informed decision.
4. The Down Payment
Some scams occur when a contractor decides to replace a roof but asks the client for a down payment before commencing work. Then the contractor disappears shortly after receiving the money. This is a common scam among many artisans, not just roofers. A sincere contractor will seldom request for an initial deposit before starting the job. Even when a down payment is required for a major roofing job like the installation of a brand new roof, the amount required will be small.
5. The Rising Price
In this type of scam, the contractor will offer the unsuspecting homeowner a quick quote with a price that is lower than what other competitors are quoting. The excited homeowner who wants to save money gives the job to the contractor, only to be told mid-way that the cost of materials has risen. Sometimes unforeseen costs are blamed for the increase in the price of the project. Then the scammer will ask for a price review and increase the price of the project. Although roofing material prices may fluctuate, it is not the responsibility of the customer to bear the consequences of price changes. A well written contract will address price changes.
How to Avoid Being a Victim of a Roofing Scam
Here are some tips to help you find the best roofing contractor and get a competitive price for your roofing project.
1. Get Quotes from Several Companies
You should obtain at least three roofing estimates. This will enable you to get a competitive price for the roofing project and negotiate a good deal.
2. Ask Companies for References
Legitimate roofing contractors will be ready to provide you with references so you can contact their previous clients and inquire about their experience. Make sure you ask the people you contact about the strengths and weaknesses of the company.
3. Ask Other Homeowners
Get a firsthand account about any highly rated roofing contractor from other homeowners and family members. Let other people share their experiences. You may also read online reviews about the major contractors in your area.
4. Make Sure You Have a Detailed Contract
After you select your roofing contractor, be sure to have a very detailed written contract. Read through the contract carefully and do not sign it without reading through the cost breakdown, the work specification, timeline, payment details, and any other important aspects of the job.
5. Pay When You Are Satisfied
Ordinarily you will not have to pay until the work is completed. In a few cases, when you request for special materials, you may need to make a down payment. Pay with a debit or credit card instead of cash. This makes it easy for you to track your payment when necessary.