Recent Wind Storms? Don’t be Fooled by “Storm Chaser” Scams
If you’re approached by a roofer at your door, you’re probably looking at one of two scenarios. Either the roofer is old-school and using classic marketing tactics or you could be dealing with a “storm chaser” roof contractor who is in town to take business from local businesses. One of the best things to do if you are approached by a roofing contractor is to research their company and ensure they’re an actual reputable roofing company, like us here at Precision Roofing & Gutters near Lake Oswego. Here’s some more information on common roofing scams and how to avoid them. In the meantime, if your property has suffered damage from the recent wind storms in the area, contact a roofing contractor you can trust by giving us a call at Precision Roofing & Gutters.
What is a “Storm Chaser?”
Storm chasers are roofers who target neighborhoods recently affected by a storm and its damage, whether from wind, hail, or rain. After a damaging storm, these contractors will go door to door and sell roof repair services. These contractors know that local roofing companies are overwhelmed after a storm, so they use computer programs and their knowledge of insurance companies to estimate the repair cost before bidding on projects to unsuspecting homeowners. Typically, these contractors start the sales process by offering potential customers a free roof inspection.
The Risks Associated With Roofing Scams
Often, these roofing contractors offer roof repair services to desperate homeowners who have no reason to suspect that they’re the victims of a scam. These roofers typically aren’t listed with the Better Business Bureau and may not even be licensed with the state. You should always ask your roofing contractor if they are licensed and insured. Here at Precision Roofing & Gutters, we can provide all of our certificates and licenses upon request.
Most projects completed by storm chasers are substandard, completed as cheaply and quickly as possible. Since these contractors don’t have physical addresses or permanent phone numbers, it’s nearly impossible to follow up with a workmanship warranty in case anything goes wrong with the roof.
Lack of Adherence to Building Code Requirements
Due to the desire to complete the repair as quickly and cheaply as possible, storm chaser roofing contractors typically disregard building code when performing the repair. If homeowners hire a roofing contractor that performs work that doesn’t meet regulations, they may have to pay more to a reputable roofing contractor to fix those mistakes. Homeowners face high fines as a result of building code violations that could result in a lien being put on the house.
Ways to Identify a Roof Repair Scam
To protect themselves, homeowners should be able to recognize the tactics that these scammers use.
Storm chasing roofing contractors typically sell their services by knocking on doors of homes affected by storm damage. Be wary of anyone offering roof repair in this manner. Sometimes these “contractors” pretend to be from a local roofing company that may have performed previous work on the home. Don’t be fooled. Ask for proof of a valid license permitting the contractor to perform roofing services.
Full Upfront Payment Required
If the contractor insists on full payment upfront, especially in cash, stay away. This practice is a clear indication that the contractor isn’t reputable. There’s a good chance that if homeowners pay a storm chaser contractor in cash, they’ll never see them again.
They Offer to Pay Your Deductible
Do not trust a roofing contractor who offers to waive the homeowners’ insurance deductible. This practice is illegal, and it is considered insurance fraud. If homeowners let a contractor pay their deductible, they’re putting themselves at risk for legal action. Make sure to examine the homeowners’ insurance policy and local legislation regarding insurance fraud to avoid this trap.
Damage is Caused During “Free Inspection”
As mentioned earlier, storm chaser roofing contractors typically offer a free “roof inspection.” Sometimes, these schemers will create damage if the roof’s damage isn’t enough to warrant extensive repair. They may use golf balls, hammers, or other heavy objects to generate enough damage for a significant insurance payout. This practice is also considered insurance fraud, and homeowners would do well to avoid it by listening and observing when a suspected scammer is performing an inspection.
Mandatory Down Payment for “Materials”
Be wary of any roofing company that requires a down payment before the work begins. Typically, once a homeowner files a claim with their insurance company, the insurance company will send one of their adjusters to evaluate the damage. Then, the insurance company will issue the homeowner a check for an initial payment to the roofing company. Then, when the roofers complete the job, the insurance company will send the rest of the amount directly to the roofing company.
When a “roofer” asks for down payment upfront, it’s possible that homeowners will never see that person again. In most down payment scams, the roofer will convince the homeowner to sign the check over as a down payment and then disappear. Knowing the proper professional process behind major home repair projects such as any roofing repair does a lot to prevent homeowners from falling into these sorts of traps.
This roofing scam is also known as the “elevator ride.” In this scam, the “roofer” offers a low bid at first, knowing that the homeowner doesn’t have much experience with roof replacements. Then, once the job begins, a ton of “unexpected” costs come up, such as discovering new damage or an increase in the cost of materials. However, reputable roofing companies won’t do this to their customers. While material prices do sometimes come up, contractors usually get a few weeks’ notice, meaning it shouldn’t affect the accuracy of bids.
How Can Precision Roofing & Gutters Help?
If you are in need of any roofing services in Lake Oswego, Oregon, call us today at Precision Roofing & Gutters. We offer a wide variety of services that can get your roof back to a new condition in no time. If you need repairs done on your roof, we can make them quickly and efficiently. For new roofs, we can install anything you may want including pitched roofs, flat roofs, and metal roofs. Precision Roofing & Gutters is one of the best roofing companies in the Portland area. We promise exceptional service and quality work no matter the project you need us for. Contact us today!