Here’s How NOT to Fall Prey to Storm Chasing Roof Contractors
Just image how awful it would be to suffer with roof damage after a bad storm of period of heavy/bad weather, only to hire a contractor that ran off with your money and never did the work. In some cases, that can be thousands and thousands of dollars, just thrown quite literally out the window, on a scam artist that never had any intention of doing the work at all.
It’s not a nice thought, right? Unfortunately, storm chasing roofing contractors and teams are on the increase, and we are personally hearing of more and more home and business owners being swindled out of their savings by shoddy contractors.
That’s why we’re going to tell you how to avoid falling prey to the scam.
WHAT THEY DO
Storm chasing roof contractors will look out for periods of bad weather on the news or weather reports. They will then rally up the troops, getting a team together that does pass for quite a professional company in many cases, making it harder for unsuspecting property owners to notice that things aren't quite right. With everyone taking on their roles, these storm chasing roofers will travel from place to place, literally chasing the storms, ready to “clear up” afterwards. They’ll know that local roofing companies will be busy, carrying new, heavy caseloads, and they will take advantage of that. They’ll make themselves seem as though they are the only logical step to take next. If every other company is taken and this one is offering itself up, why not jump on it?
WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
What happens next actually depends on the scammer you're up against. Some of them will climb up onto your roof to deliberately cause physical damage that you have no choice but to repair — broken guttering, clogged guttering, broken or smashed shingles, etc. Others will simply make up a list of jobs that needs to be done, usually technical jargon that the average homeowner just wouldn’t know about or understand. Sometimes, they’ll use technical jargon that isn’t even real — just made up words. There could be occasions where a genuine, fully-trained roofing contractor knocks on your door, still a storm-chaser, but one that actually knows what they’re talking about. These ones tend to locate and diagnose all problems on the roof, and then repair it to a very poor standard, not providing you with a warranty or any way of contacting them afterwards. If you're lucky, the roof will last a couple of years before falling apart. If you're not, it will take just weeks or months. Either way, you’ll be left with a truckload of extra stress, extra costs, and extra unhappiness. You’ll have paid for $15,000 of work and materials, but only actually received the most basic of materials, and the shoddiest of workmanship, probably amounting to less than half of that in value.
There are even cases where these travelling scammers hit homes by taking advantage of the home insurance that covers the repairs. The insurance company once again thinks the roofing contractor is doing a job worth $15,000 and pays them that amount. The contractor only does the very bare minimum work, with the poorest quality materials, earning a few thousand dollars in the process.
HOW TO AVOID BEING SCAMMED BY ROOFERS
Call the number on the invoice or paperwork before they leave the property. If you don’t and the number is fake, you won't know until they are long gone and you’ll lose the chance to try and get things resolved. You can also put a stop to a scam before it happens by doing some basic checking — Google the company, check out the reviews left by other people online, and check that everything they’re saying to you is true. If they don't have a website, you really should ask yourself why. Almost every business has a website in this day and age. If the company has a string of bad reviews, you should probably avoid them. You should check to see how long the roofing company or contractor has been in business, and whether or not he/she/they can offer you anything in the form of references. Make sure that you also ask about licenses and insurance documents too — and don't just ask about them ... ask to SEE them.
People who are planning on scamming you usually want the job over and done with very quickly, not wanting to hang around and potentially get caught by the boys in blue. This mean that they will do everything in their power to get you to sign on the dotted line and hand over your hard-earned cash as soon as they can, using whatever means necessary. They'll flirt with you, pressure you, and even scare you with terror stories of what COULD happen if you don't do the work they're suggesting. When we say that they’ll do anything to get you to hire them, we really do mean they’ll try anything, legal or otherwise. If the person on your front door stop is pushing roofing services on you, or seems in a hurry to get you to agree to something, there's a good chance that you're being scammed. It's not unusual for sales people to give you the sales speech, but being overly pushy is generally considered a customer service no-no. If something doesn't feel right, get in touch with the company behind your home or property insurance. They can send an adjuster to your home to work out whether or not you're being told the truth. To be doubly sure that you're not being scammed by a storm-chasing roof contractor, you could always get in touch with another local roofing contractor or company in your area for a second opinion. It is always advisable to get more than one quote or estimate for a big job, such as roof repairs and replacements, and by doing so, you can ask questions about that random company or contractor that turned up at your door. Most local roofers will be very well aware of similar scams and can advise you accordingly.
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