Scams exist in every industry – including roofing. As a homeowner, you want to be vigilant about who you trust to install your roof.
The best way to avoid scams is to know what they are. Ultimately, you’ll know if what you’re experiencing with a roofing contractor could be a scam.
Rescue My Roof has been working with homeowners for over a decade, educating them to make the best investments for their homes. Today, we’ll teach you common scams and tricks to avoid them.
5 Common Scams in the Roofing Industry
Scams exist in the roofing industry. If you want a new roof to protect your home, you have to know the scams and how to avoid them.
Here are the five most common scams in the roofing industry:
1. Exaggerating the Stakes
Exaggerating the stakes involves a combination of two things:
1) A roofer says you need to get a problem fixed immediately, and 2) something terrible will happen if you don’t (beyond just a simple leak).
Here, a contractor attempts to push you to make a bad decision, picking them rather than scouting other roofing companies first.
However, only in some situations where a roofer suggests you make a fast decision is a scam.
Here are some instances where it might be necessary:
- Time limits: Most insurance companies will give you a year to begin a storm damage claim. If you are getting close to that deadline, pressure from a salesperson might be warranted.
- Severe roof issues: If your roof shows signs of caving in, it’s time to find a contractor ASAP. But the salesperson could be lying if you don’t see dramatic evidence of an impending roof collapse.
If you are suspicious of a hasty roofing contractor, your suspicion might be correct. Here are nine questions to ask a roofing contractor to ensure they fit correctly.
2. Creating False Damages
Shady contractors may go on your roof and create damage, take pictures, and claim your roof needs to be replaced.
The best way to ensure you get accurate information is to inspect and photograph your roof before a contractor comes to your home. With this method, you have concrete evidence of the state of your roof before their arrival.
If you catch the roof inspector creating new damage, it’s vandalism, and you can threaten legal action.
3. Threatening Legal Action
Lawsuits will pinch a nerve – even in the most hardened individual.
Roof scammers may demand you pay them in full before the work is completely done. After collecting the money, they’ll do a poor job to save on material and labor costs or ghost you.
If you don’t pay, they may threaten legal action. Fortunately, you have legal protections as a homeowner, especially if you did not sign a contract. If you have signed a contract, seek out legal advice before panicking.
Lawsuits take a lot of time; reputable companies don’t want to deal with them if they don’t have to. So if a roofing company is threatening legal action after a short period, chances are, they’re scammers.
4. Up-Charing Once the job Begins
You may think you are getting an excellent price for your roof replacement – and then the project begins.
Suddenly there’s a bunch of things you find yourself paying for that weren’t in the original estimate.
For example, if they find rotten wood and need to replace the decking on your roof, they may vastly overcharge you to make up for what they didn’t initially charge for.
You can end up paying more than an average contractor would charge you for minor fixes because your contractor is attempting to increase its profit margin.
5. Worker’s Comp Fraud
Being a roofer comes with high risks. Roofing contractors will pay a lot to ensure that Workman’s Comp protects their workers should they get injured on the job.
As we’ve said before, material costs are the same for virtually all contractors in your area. So when it comes to saving money to charge you less, they cut corners in areas they shouldn’t.
One of these areas is Workman’s Comp. They will misclassify their workers on their paperwork to save some money with insurance.
However, if someone gets hurt while working on your home and is misclassified, Workman’s Comp is invalid.
As a result, they can end up suing you for medical bills, or OSHA can fine you.
How to Avoid Roofing Scams
Now that you know all the scams out there, you’re probably wondering how to avoid them and spare yourself the headache.
The best way to avoid scams is to go with your gut. Ask yourself, “does it seem too good to be true?” If the answer is yes, research will be your best friend.
If they don’t have a lot of reviews or won’t share any references, that is a red flag. If they share that information with you and the reviews are solid, it is ultimately up to you to decide whether or not to move forward.
To help you in this search, read about finding the right contractor for you with “How to Avoid the Risk of Cheap Contractors.”If you’re looking for a solid, well-respected contractor in the greater Milwaukee area, schedule an appointment with us to get a free estimate.