New Roofing Scams, Don’t be Fooled by Popular Scams

Roofing scams have been around a long time. The tactics of roofing scammers are well-known. Here’s what to look for and how you can defend against popular roofing scams.

1. The Disappearing Down Payment

One day you get a knock on the door. It’s a person who claims to be a roofing salesman. His crew is in the neighborhood, he says, and he’s offering big discounts for work if you’ll sign up today. He says he noticed that your shingles look worn and might be near failure which could lead to serious damage to your home. He’ll give you a great deal if you’ll give him a down payment today. Chances are, if you give him the money, you’ll never see him again. Don’t do business with anyone you haven’t called to come out and give you a roofing quote.

2. The Very Low Estimate

Let’s say you do the wise thing and get multiple roofing estimates for a new roof. One company is much lower than the others. You ask how this can be and you are told any number of things – the other companies are trying to rip you off, he’s got a special deal on shingles, his profit margin is lower because he’s expanding into your area and wants to build up business and references for the great work he does.

When these low-ball roofing scam artists get the job, they will do one of two things. Either they will put cheap, sub-standard shingles on your roof – not the ones they quoted you on – or they will find “problems” with your roof once they get the old roofing material off. These supposed problems might include rotted roof decking and trusses or a myriad of other issues. Suddenly the low price estimate skyrockets past the other estimates you received. He’s got your roof torn apart, so what can you do but pay up?

Avoid this scam by getting estimates from roofers with multiple good references. Check their rating at the Better Business Bureau. Get a very specific roofing estimate in writing and tell him upfront you won’t pay a cent more.

3. The Free Roof Inspection

This scam is common after violent storms pass through an area. A roofing scams artist will drop by and offer a free roof inspection. If you agree, he will get on your roof and find all kinds of problems…even if he has to create them. Plus, if he’s not a real roofer and has no liability insurance, you’ll be on the hook financially if he falls off your roof and hurts himself. After all, you gave him permission to go up there.

Again, don’t do business with anyone you haven’t contacted first. Quality, legitimate roofing contractors rarely go door to door unless they are working next door or right across the street. If that’s the case, let them finish the job and then talk to your neighbor about the quality of the work, the price, how well they cleaned up the job site and how easy the company was to work with.

New laws in many states have increased penalties for scam artists. Prosecutors are getting tough on them. If someone has scammed you, or tried to scam you, call the police and make a report.

The more you know about a roofing contractor, or the more the company has been checked by others, the greater the likelihood you’ll get a job done the right way the first time at a fair price. Only consider contractor with a well-established reputation in your area and a long list of references willing to vouch for the quality of the work done. The key is to find a roofing contractor that you trust to do the work on your home.

Meet with each potential contractor and find out about their experience, the experience of the crew, whether written estimates are final and when they expect to be paid. Never pay more than half the money down at the start of the job. Withhold the rest of the payment until the job is completed and the job site is cleaned up to your satisfaction.

Being cautious and thorough when getting roofing estimates and choosing a roofing contractor will reduce the potential for being scammed, being hit with unexpected costs or getting a job that isn’t up to professional standards.

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