9 Most Common Roofing Scams Homeowners Can Easily Avoid
Scammed, ripped off, bamboozled… whatever you want to call it, getting cheated out of money is never fun and is always discouraging. Scams can happen in many scenarios. You’re probably familiar with the many scam calls that claim to be about your car’s extended warranty. But are you familiar with roofing scams?
That’s right; people can try to trick you about your roof so that they run away with money and leave you high and dry. Read about these 9 common roofing scams, so you don’t fall victim to a trick.
1) Storm Chasers
“Storm chasers” are perhaps the most common roofing scam in the industry. In fact, any given storm chaser may use one or more of the rest of the scams on this list to try and trick homeowners.
A storm chaser is defined as someone who resides out of a local service area (often out-of-state) and follows severe weather events, travels to those areas, and tries to scam vulnerable homeowners. These scams can be successful because storms often damage roofs, leading homeowners to seek help.
Storm chasers will approach you on your doorstep. Now, not every roofer who knocks on your door after a storm is trying to scam you. Some are very reputable companies offering their services. But if the person at your doorstep uses any tactics listed below, don’t agree to work with them.
2) “Too Good to Be True” Bids
Storm chasers (and any other roofers, for that matter) may try to lowball you with a “too good to be true” offer. Simply put, they’ll offer to do the job for an incredibly cheap price, often just a fraction of what other companies are charging.
This might sound tempting, but beware! In many cases, these roofers will do a subpar job or use shoddy materials that won’t last, leaving you in the same boat (or worse) as before. Plus, they may try to tack on hidden fees later down the line.
3) Asking the Homeowner to Handle Permits
In some cases, a roofer will try to get the homeowner to pull the necessary permits for the job. This might not seem like a big deal, but it’s actually illegal in many states. Not only that, but it could also put you at risk if the roofer does a poor job and something goes wrong.
4) Making Up or Exaggerating Damage
A common tactic among storm chasers and scammers is to make up damage or exaggerate existing damage to get a higher insurance payout. They’ll often do this by using special techniques to create the appearance of hail damage (such as using a hammer) or by claiming that wind damage is worse than it actually is.
In some cases, the roofer might even try to convince you that your roof needs to be completely replaced when it doesn’t. This is a waste of money, and it’s unnecessary unless your roof is in bad shape.
If you recently got a new roof that’s less than 10 years old, be wary if someone suggests a total roof replacement. Be sure to get multiple opinions to see if there’s a throughline.
5) Can’t Prove Licenses or Insurance
All roofers should be licensed and insured. If a roofer can’t produce proof of these things, it’s a major red flag.
In addition, make sure that the roofer is licensed in your state. Some states require special licenses for roofing work, so a roofer who isn’t licensed in your state might not be up to par.
6) No Online Presence
In today’s day and age, it’s pretty much essential for companies to have an online presence. If a roofing company doesn’t have a website or any online reviews, that’s a bad sign. Reading online reviews and testimonials is a fantastic way to vet the contractor and the legitimacy of their business. The more reviews they have, the better.
Also, be wary of a roofing contractor with many generic 5-star reviews that don’t mention anything specific about the project or service. Many reviews in a row that seem similar to something like, “They completed the service well, and I am satisfied with the work,” should send off alarm bells. The contractor likely paid for those fake reviews. 🙄
7) Asks for Cash Upfront
A reputable roofer never asks for payment upfront before starting work on a project. In fact, most roofers will only request partial payment after the job is completed to your satisfaction.
Paying for a roofing job upfront in cash is a huge red flag, and you should never do it. It is not only against the law in some states but also puts you at risk of getting scammed. The roofer could take your money and run without ever starting (or finishing) the job.
8) Doesn’t Offer a Contract
When you’re hiring a roofer, always make sure that you get a contract in writing. This document should outline:
- The scope of work
- Materials to be used
- Payment schedule
- Other important details
If a roofer tries to do the job without a contract, that’s a definite sign that you shouldn’t work with them.
9) Homeowners Insurance Fraud
Some roofers will try to commit insurance fraud by billing your homeowners insurance for more than the job actually costs. They might do this by overcharging for materials or labor or adding extra charges that aren’t necessary.
They may also offer to pay your insurance deductible to convince you to choose them. This is also considered insurance fraud.
This is a serious crime, and it’s something that you should never allow to happen. If a roofer tries to commit insurance fraud, report them to the authorities immediately. Avoid these scams by staying in close contact with your insurer after filing a claim.
Avoid Scams by Hiring a Reputable Local Team
Hiring a roofer is a big decision, and it’s important that you do your research to avoid getting scammed. Be sure to ask for referrals, get multiple estimates, and always insist on a written contract. And if something doesn’t seem right, trust your gut.
If you live in Maryland or Virginia, you can feel confident choosing ARCH Exteriors for your upcoming project. Our fully licensed and insured team remains honest and trustworthy with every customer. You can even check out our Google reviews to see why your neighbors have been more than happy with our services.