Among honest, credible roofers lurk contractors who are con artists. They smoothly prey upon unsuspecting homeowners, armed with slick roofing scams. In these crooks’ wake are victims who are left with shoddy construction and depleted bank accounts. Tragically, homeowners may not realize they’ve been swindled until their roof comes apart or caves in.
According to HomeAdvisor, approximately 20,000 to 100,000 scammers per year attempt to defraud homeowners. In 2001 alone, consumer protection agencies recovered nearly $147 million from contractor scams in 22 states. Rain-Go Exteriors of Raleigh, North Carolina are reputable, ethical, experienced roofers who pride themselves on their integrity. Here are some scams they want you to recognize:
It’s extremely unusual for a contractor to request an up-front payment for a roof repair project. Criminals demand a substantial down payment — or even the entire payment — before they get to work. They will claim that this cash outlay is needed for materials or laborers’ pay. Once they have your money, they’ll bolt without doing any repairs.
Scammers also defraud insurance policies. Typically, homeowner’s insurance will help pay for roof repairs. The double-dealer convinces you to sign over or cash the insurance check as a deposit.
You’re not going to get any legal footing if you signed a contract: The company is nonexistent.
Storm chasers — also known as roofing gypsies — are roofers who prowl the country following severe storms and seeking homeowners to fleece. They study the National Weather Service’s hail and wind damage reports and go the impacted zones. They target damaged homes and offer to make repairs. They may also create damages themselves, to ensure that they cash out.
They may seem friendly and sincere. However, they’re only gauging the homeowners’ post-storm fears. Storm chasers play upon these fears to con victims out of money for repairs that will never happen. They may even urge homeowners to tap into their insurance policies, pay the victim’s deductible or offer cash back. Even if they do slap a roof together before running, it will probably last fewer than five years.
Rollercoaster bids take homeowners on an unexpected ride of bidding ups and downs. Contractors who operate these roofing scams snag your business by offering an extremely low bid. They know full well that they will have no bidding competition.
Next, the contractor will take the homeowners on what’s called an “elevator ride.” They’ll add unexpected fees and charges, catapulting their low bid higher than the legitimate bids. Afterward, the homeowner or their insurance company are burned for substantially more than the initial bid.
BAIT AND SWITCH
The bait and switch is one of the more popular roofing scams. Basically, it consists of offering one thing but providing another. The culprits may charge customers for quality materials but then use substandard ones. Another ploy is to sell customers a particular roofing material. Then, at the last minute, it mysteriously goes out of stock or has been discontinued. They pressure the homeowners into buying a more expensive substitute. Feeling cornered by the con artist and dogged by time constraints, they agree.
Shady contractors will skimp on nails, shingles and other materials. They’ll employ these tricks despite blatant code violations. A slapdash roof is perilously vulnerable to wind and water damage. Bugs can infest the cracks, holes, and crevices created by the workers’ carelessness.
Criminals also attempt to slash labor hours. This way, they can considerably reduce overhead costs — as well as considerably reducing quality and craftsmanship.
By cutting corners, the scammer’s roof goes up at warp speed. The customers are impressed with how fast the roof was fixed, and how talented the roofers must be. They float in this happy bubble until the roofers can’t be found, and neither can their cash.
Be suspicious of any roofing company that browbeats you to approve an estimate and signs a contract. High-pressure tactics are a hallmark of roofing scams. The strategy is to prevent you from thinking too deeply about the transaction. If they permit you to deliberate, you may consider other options. Pressure is one of a scammer’s most effective ploys. If you’re being forced to make a sudden decision, walk away.
BLOATED DAMAGE REPORTS
In this scam, contractors furnish erroneous information pertaining to the exact amount of roof damage. Although the prices seem acceptable, the roofers will fabricate problems to inflate the bid. Homeowners who aren’t well-informed about their roof are particularly vulnerable to this con.
Trustworthy, authentic and experienced contractors have repeat customers, a solid BBB profile and a brick-and-mortar establishment. Rain-Go Exteriors, roofing professionals serving Raleigh, North Carolina since 1998, embodies these high standards. Helmed by a licensed contractor, Tim Howell, Rain-Go provides quality, expertise and, above all, integrity. Please call us at 919-875-0700 to discuss how Rain-Go can professionally handle your roofing needs.