How to Avoid Common Roofing ScamsApril 20, 2015 3:28 pm
Unfortunately, many Oklahoma homeowners are victim to roofing scams when storm season comes around. It’s appalling that anyone would take advantage of a homeowner who has experienced loss and destruction, but it happens every day.
In light of the recent storms, we want to help you avoid these common roofing scams so you can protect your home and your wallet.
Lack of Insurance Verification
If anyone approaches you to offer roofing services, ask to see their driver’s license and Oklahoma Roofing Contractors License number. If they are not from Oklahoma, take note of this red flag. Many “Chuck in a truck” handymen target storm ridden areas and offer roofing services for cheap. These people are generally uninsured and unavailable if you have any future problems with their work. For more information about insurance scams, read our blog: Homeowners Beware: Roofer Insurance vs Handyman Insurance
Signs in Yard Before Contract
Don’t let anyone put a sign in your yard until you have chosen a contractor. When a licensed roofing company sees a sign in a yard, we respect and view it as representing a signed contract. If you haven’t actually signed a contract yet, this sign can keep you from getting other offers and possibly prevent you from getting the right services for your home.
There is also a common scam where companies pay homeowners to put their sign in their yard, even if they don’t need roofing services. These companies generally target homes at the front of the neighborhood to show other homeowners that “these homes selected this roofer, so they must be a good choice,” when, in reality, these homeowners were paid to advertise their services.
Money Up-Front for Materials
If your roofing contractor asks for compensation to cover materials before the work is done, this is also a significant red flag. You may never see this contractor back at your home again! If a company doesn’t have enough capital to fund the whole project, you shouldn’t do business with them.
If you notice your roofer is loading all the materials on the roof prior to doing the job, be aware this is extremely dangerous and can damage your home significantly. Many roofers do this to ensure the materials can’t be stolen easily (which does happen quite often). This practice puts large amounts of weight on one portion of the roof, instead of distributing the weight evenly like normal shingles do when installed. This weight can break the decking, and cost you more money when they have to replace these decking sections. Each package of shingles weighs 80 pounds, and there are usually 30 packs of shingles for a standard roofing job – that’s more than 2,000 pounds of weight! Ask your roofer to avoid roof loading before they begin work. Van De Steeg has materials and roofers show up within a couple hours of each other to avoid needing to load the roof, and we keep the materials on the ground. It takes extra effort to take the shingles onto the roof for installation, but the benefits outweigh the risk.
Do not give money to anyone except the salesman you finalized your contract with. Another way to avoid this scam is to mail the money directly to the roofing company. If the amount is incorrect, we will notify you. A payment scam recently caught one of our homeowners, so we wanted to share and hope that you can avoid it too:
Someone saw our Van De Steeg sign in one of our customer’s yards. After the roof was completed, they went to the door and said they were with Van De Steeg. They then proceeded to notify the homeowner their deducible wasn’t met and tried to collect money on the spot. Luckily, it was actually a renter the scammer spoke with, and so the renter called the owner to verify the information and found out it was false.
We hope these tips help you avoid scams this storm season. As always, Van De Steeg is fully insured with general liability and workers compensation, so you can trust that we won’t scam you! You can count on our 16 year reputation for guaranteed materials, certified installers and quality workmanship. Call us today for a free inspection after the storm!