Roofing scams can be very costly, very costly indeed.
By Bob Goldsmith.
After the storm come the storm
chasers. Following behind any bad windstorm will be roofing
contractors, good, bad and ugly. They know their services will be in
The good will be professionals prepared to do a
first class job for a fair price.
The bad will take advantage of the
high demand and inflate the cost of their service.
The ugly will be
anything but professional and charge exorbitant rates for slapdash work,
or even no work at all.
The ugly, shysters that they are, will not care at all about the
plight of the homeowners, all that drives them is the dishonest buck to
be made with their roofing scams.
It is not only in the
aftermath of a storm that these scammers are on the prowl. They can be
around anytime, not looking for roofs that need repairing but looking
for victims, they don’t much care if the victim’s roof is in need of
repair or not.
Knock, knock. “Good morning to you. I was
driving past and couldn’t help but notice there may be something wrong
with your roof. I know about these things, it’s my trade. It could be
nothing much at all or potentially serious, I have my ladder on my
truck; it will only take a minute to check it out.”
homeowner may decline the bogus contractors offer, but he doesn’t listen
instead he snatches the ladder off his truck and proceeds to climb up
on the roof. The victim is too polite to protest too much.
can guess that the scammer does not have good news when he comes down
the ladder. Oh my, it’s something that must be put right urgently and
as luck has it, he is free to expertly carry out the task, for a large
cash deposit of course.
The ladder is not always used; the
charlatan may say that he can see a problem from the street. The
homeowner may take a look and be unable to see the cause of concern,
(not surprising because there isn’t one,) only to be told it’s because
they are not looking with an expert’s eye.
Be aware of
the old “left over materials” line that gets used not only in roofing
scams, but also in every home improvement scam in the book.
The bogus roofing contractor claims he has left over shingles and
other materials from the job he has just finished.
If you decide to go
ahead right now you can benefit because he can use that stuff in
repairing your roof and you make a substantial saving. Baloney!
it was true, and it won’t be, then it would mean he does a poor job of
estimating, not a trait that should give you confidence. Materials have
to be paid for, whether they are in excess of what is needed or not, so
the only way he could not charge you for them is because he charged the
previous home owner. Not a good sign of his honesty is it.
To repeat, the story is hogwash, it is just a line to pressure you into thinking a bargain is on offer.
Roofing scams and insurance fraud.
Then there are the shysters who, having convinced the victim that
their roof needs work, persuade them to participate in an insurance
The homeowner is concerned about the deductible, the
scammer tells them not to worry as he will inflate the claim and cover
part of the deductible.
The insurance companies are not fools; many
homeowners are prosecuted for inflated claims while the rogue
contractors cover themselves and escape Scott free.
Best advice on doorstep tricksters – don’t open your door, it’s as simple as that.
Use your Doorviewer or
home surveillance system to see who is there, if you don’t know them,
don’t take the risk of opening your door. Don’t speak to them unless you
feel there really is a need, if there is use your home intercom to do
If somebody is persistent and refuses to leave then call the cops, a doorstep scammer will not want that kind of attention.
Why do victims fall for roofing scams?
The answer is pressure. But it is not just the pressure put on the
victims by the scammer, it is also the pressure the victims put on
The internal conversation goes something like this.
guy is telling me I have a damaged roof. Oh my word, that is serious, I
can’t afford to ignore that, if I do it will mean my home will be
spoiled and it will eventually cost me far more than fixing the roof.
This guy is also telling me he can fix my roof real good and if I agree
to go ahead right now he can give me a specially good price, but only if
he can start right now. What to do? Oh, I guess I’d better let him
start, that’d be the best thing.
And so, without getting
someone reputable to check whether there really is damage, without
getting a number of quotes from reputable roofing contractors, the
victim agrees to engage someone who has just turned up on their
Has the victim made any check at all that the stranger is a
professional roofer? No.
All because of that pressure.
they stop at charging the victim for roofing repairs that did not need
doing in the first place? No, they have plenty more dirty tricks up
While they are up on the roof they can create
all kinds of damage and perhaps even take some photos of it with a cell
phone. They show the poor victim the evidence that there is more work needs doing than was first thought.
of course, the rather large deposit that was handed over will not cover
it. They demand another large payment and if the victim protests and
point blank refuses to cough up, the fraudster vanishes. This leaves the
homeowner with a roof that now really is damaged and leaves them out of pocket.
victim started with a roof that was not in need of repair, shelled out
good money and will have to shell out more to get the damage the scammer
caused fixed. Roofing scams can be very costly, very costly indeed.
you suspect that you need work doing on your roof, get someone who is
qualified to investigate to see exactly what needs to be done. Obtain
estimates from at least three professional contractors who are licensed
and insured to work in your state, check them with the Better Business
Ask them for the addresses of recent customers and inquire how
the customers feel about the contractors work.
satisfied with only a verbal agreement on anything, demand a written
contract clearly stating terms, price and full details of the work that
There are many good professional roofing
contractors out there; there really is no need to get taken to the
cleaners by roofing scams.