Fountain, Security-Widefield, Stratmoor and other Southern Colorado areas suffered massive hail damage on June 13th. Hail the size of baseballs and tennis balls were reported, destroying most anything in its way. One of those things were many roofs through the area. Whether your shingles were damaged, or the hail pounded hard enough to break through and land inside your house, scammers have started appearing, prepared to take your money. Avoiding scams are important, and the following steps can do just that.
One of the most common roofing scams are a company saying they can replace your roof - maybe even fast. But all they need is a down payment, most likely for labor and materials. If they ask you for money to pay for labor and materials, don’t listen – and don’t give them your check. It is common for them to take the money and disappear without doing the work.
Do not give any company your business – and your money – until you verify the supplies have been delivered. If they want the money before you see the supplies, take your business elsewhere.
Another common scam is the door-to-door salesman. After every storm, they show up at your house promising to fix your roof – maybe even for free! All they need is access to your roof, so they can look at the damage. Do not allow them onto your roof, once they’re up there they will either fabricate damage or show you pictures of another roof and claim it is yours. If you have a salesman at your door trying to pitch a service, this is a red flag. Most of businesses do not function this way.
Instead, get in contact with your insurance company. They will send someone qualified to inspect your roof and potentially save you from a negative reflection on your insurance record.
Unlike many other salesmen, Storm Chasers will do as their name suggests. They follow the bad storms with the purpose of scamming those who suffered from damages. They will pass out leaflets, or pop up unannounced offering free inspections – like salesmen. Unlike the door-to-door salesmen, they will put a roof up, for the absolute bare minimum. They won’t fix any other issues and vanish entirely.
If one shows up to your house, ask for proof of insurance, and check for the license status of their company with the local building department. Keep an eye on their address too, if the only listing is a PO Box, don’t trust them.
This scam begins by low balling the price to fix your roof. What a great deal! Until they suddenly find unforeseen problems and unexpected costs start to appear. It can be anything from rising price of materials to damage that isn’t mentioned in the contract. Some have been known to take off the entire roof and threaten dropping the project if additional money isn’t given.
Pay attention to that contract. Any underlying damage or extra repairs will be included, such as the roof deck. This is the foundation of your roof, and most companies will write the repairs into the initial contract instead of surprising you with the cost in the middle of the project.
While you are having your consultation, or your neighborhood is having their repairs done, watch out. This contractor will show up promising amazing deals and incredibly low rates, and pressure you to sign the contract every step of the way. Any resistance is met with dishonesty and is meant to mislead you into a legally binding contract. Their reason behind this? That amazing deal-of-a-lifetime is likely much more expensive, and they want to stop you from referencing prices with other companies to realize the scam.
Do not give them your down payment and be wary if they request all decision-makers are present. This is to stop you from having time to look the information over. If you feel uncomfortable by what is happening then ask them to leave. Most often, these scammers refuse – because they’re at risk to lose the sale. Do not be afraid to call the police if they won't leave.
How can you protect yourself from scammers then? First and foremost, get more than one estimate. Everything from cost, agreed work, schedules, and other expectations should be in writing. Don’t sign a contract with blanks in it. And check places like the Better Business Bureau and the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department for legitimate businesses – such as Colorado’s Roofing Specialist, verified and trusted by the PPRBD to honestly handle all your roofing needs. No need to check, we already have.