It's currently summer storm season, and whenever a big storm hits, it seems that every roofer in town (and some from out of town) comes out of the woodwork. But do you know how to tell when the salesman knocking on your door is legit and when you should be wary? Here are some pointers on how to make sure that you don't fall for a roofing scam:
Creating a Sense of Urgency
Are you feeling pressured by the roofer to sign a contract "right now" or that a special offer will be available "today only"? Are you being told that you have a drastic problem that needs to be addressed immediately? Chances are that these high pressure tactics are signs of a scam and meant to frighten you into a sense of urgency so that you will sign a legally binding contract without the opportunity to think things through.
A bona fide roofer should not pressure you or make deals that will be "expired" by tomorrow. In addition, if you truly have a catastrophic problem with your roof, you as the homeowner will most likely know it. A truly major problem after a storm will show itself in the form of leaks, shingles on the ground and, quite possibly, visible damage.
Did a roofer come by unannounced and just happen to see damage on your roof? Did they knock on your door and insist on climbing up on your roof, only to come back down and insist that you are in dire need of a new one due to extensive damage...damage that you can't see with your own eyes? These are often out of town roofers whose aim is to arrive in a town where a storm just happened, frighten homeowners into signing a contract, and then skip town after making as much money as possible. It is not uncommon for these storm chasers to be uninsured and/or unlicensed and to do poor quality work with poor quality materials.
A roofer with good intentions should be able to provide you evidence of any damage through photographs. They should be willing to explain the damage to you and be willing to work with your insurance to provide you with a solid replacement, if needed.
Other Scam Techniques
In addition to high pressure and fear based sales tactics, there may be other signs that you are being taken advantage of. Offering discounts on materials or labor are often red flags. Another red flag is a waived deductible. It's important to note that in Colorado, waiving or reimbursing an insurance deductible is illegal and you, as the homeowner, can be held legally liable for insurance fraud if it happens. A contractor operating without a license or insurance is also against the law. Speaking of the law, there are none requiring mandatory inspections, so if this excuse is used by someone to get on your roof, it is safe to assume that something shady is going on.
To avoid falling victim to a roofing scam, check out the roofing company that you wish to hire. Look at their website and read their online reviews. Make sure that the roofer shows verification of the damage and explains it to you so that you understand the work that will be done. A good roofer should have integrity and be transparent about the process.