5 Roofing Scams and How To Avoid Them

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At ECO Roof and Solar, we love our industry and what we do. Unfortunately, there are many “roofers” out there who give hard-working roofers like us (link to homepage) a bad name. In order to help protect you from falling prey to these scammers, we’ve compiled a list of common scams and how to avoid them.

1. Storm Chasers

Storm chasers are often those who are most talked about in the press, whether they’re running off with people’s money or poorly installing roofs. Yet, not many people are aware when they’re actually dealing with a storm chaser. Here are a few characteristics of a storm-chasing scammer:

  • They’ll often show up unannounced right after a major storm and offer special discounts
  • They want to replace as many roofs as possible in one town before leaving without a trace
  • They may also take the first check from your insurance company and then disappear
  • They’ll want you to make a quick decision and may even “repair” roofs that don’t need any work at all
  • Their workmanship is often poor, shortening the lifespan of your current roof or leaving you with a roof that will last a few years

2. Low Starting/Fluctuating Bid

Many roofing scammers try to take advantage of the fact that most homeowners and building owners don’t replace their roofs very often. They’ll give an enticingly low starting bid in order to get you to choose their services. It’ll seem too good to be true because it is. This is how the fluctuating bid operates:

  • They’ll offer you an extremely low bid and not reveal all of the details involved with the repair
  • They’ll run into “unforeseen” problems that need to addressed right away
  • All of a sudden, they run into an increase in the cost of materials needed to complete their work
  • Those “unforeseen” problems and cost increases will cause the cost of the job to increase to much higher than the original bid

3. Fake Damage

If you don’t notice damage on your roof or any leaking in your interior, chances are you don’t have to repair or replace your roof. Unfortunately, some aggressive roofing salesmen will try to convince you that you need repairs–or worse, a full roof replacement. Here’s how you know you’re dealing with someone trying to scam you with fake damage:

  • They’ll knock on your door and claim they “just happened to notice” damage on your roof as they were driving by
  • They then point to vague damage from the ground and ask to inspect your roof for free
  • A full roof replacement will be justified by his inspection, but be warned that they may create the damage themselves

4. Insurance Fraud

Perhaps the most serious roofing scam, insurance fraud can get you into a legal situation you don’t want to be in. The biggest problem is that you may not be aware that the fraud is happening, or the option may seem too good to pass up. Here are a couple of ways that roofers may commit insurance fraud:

  • They’ll submit two separate invoices: one for you and one for the insurance company. The one you receive will be lower than the one your insurance company receives
  • They’ll claim to be able to reimburse you for your deductible and over-bill your insurance company for the extra money

5. Inadequate Repairs

This is generally the scam that most homeowners will become victims of. Like storm chasers, you’re likely not aware you’re the victim of the scam until the roofer in question is long gone. Here’s how you know you’ve received inadequate repairs on your roof:

  • Most roofing problems exist under the surface, but scammers will just replace a few shingles
  • So while the new shingles look great, the actual problem was never remedied
  • You won’t even notice you’ve been scammed until the next storm hits

How To Protect Yourself

There are quite a few ways to protect yourself. If you’re a homeowner, be mindful that a lot of scammers will target neighborhoods with a larger number of older homes and/or senior citizens. Here are some tips for business owners and homeowners:

  • Don’t rush into any decisions. Take the time to go through this checklist and make the best possible decision before you hire any roofer or hand over a check for services
  • Don’t do business with anyone who demands an answer right away. They’re trying to take advantage of the anxiety that a roof repair or replacement creates
  • Get bids from at least three roofing companies
  • Ask your insurance for any referrals for your area
  • Do your research for each company:
    • Check their license status
    • Check Better Business Bureau (link to BBB)
    • Visit their office–a post office box address is a major red flag
  • Ask about their insurance and then ask for proof of said insurance
  • Ask questions about any unforeseen problems before hiring anyone. Roof decking should be addressed long before it can become a potential problem
  • Don’t trust anyone who “happens to notice” damage while they’re driving by
  • Listen carefully to what’s being offered and make sure you understand the contract before you sign it
  • Avoid offers to pay your deductibles. Also, avoid non-cost incentives
  • Communicate with your contractor throughout the project to keep tabs on progress
  • Don’t do business with anyone who won’t start work or drop off materials until they receive a down payment
  • Ask the contractor to leave if you feel uncomfortable and don’t hesitate to call the police if they refuse to leave

Whether we end up with your business or not, ECO Roof and Solar is here to help you make an informed decision about your roof. We have built our reputation on being trustworthy and completing every type of roof to satisfaction. Call us today to get your free inspection at 1-833-ECO-ROOF or click the envelope below to chat with a representative.

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