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How to Avoid the Most Common Roofing Scams

Your roof will become worn out over time until it needs to be repaired or replaced. This creates a perfect opportunity for scammers to take advantage of homeowners. In this article, we'll discuss some of the most common roofing scams and what you can do to protect yourself from them.
1. Using Substandard or Non-licensed Roofing Materials

Many scammers will use substandard and cheap materials to save money and increase their profit margin. Of course, they do not tell you these materials are inferior. For example, if you are looking for ENERGY STAR certified roofing products, a scammer might use a cheap imitation. This means you’ll miss out on all the energy savings the product offers. According to ENERGY STAR, certified roofing materials reflect more of the sun’s rays than non-certified ones, reducing roof surface temperatures by up to 50 degrees Celsius, which automatically reduces the amount of heat transfer into a building. These roof products can also help buildings lower their air conditioning needs, reducing peak cooling demand by 15%.

2. Demanding Unreasonably Large Down Payments

Before roofing companies can start working on your roof, most require some sort of down payment. However, many scammers will request an unusually large sum of money in advance because they know homeowners do not have much choice but to pay up. If the company is unlicensed and uninsured, this could be even more dangerous than usual since there is no one else to turn to if something goes wrong with your roof after having already paid them in full.

3. Offering Insanely Low Prices

Some roofing scammers will offer insanely low prices for their services. Although this might sound like a great deal, it usually isn’t. They’re hoping to lure you in with the tiny price tag that usually turns into outrageously expensive hidden fees later on. Alternatively, they can be using cheap materials or uninsured labor to save money which can lead to future problems for you.

4. Preventing You from Inspecting the Roof After It’s Completed

One of the biggest red flags you can get is when a roofer prevents you from inspecting your new roof once it’s finished. Of course, every company will want to protect their reputation, and therefore they’ll want to keep you happy with what they’ve done for you. If they’re not willing to let you inspect their work, it could indicate that something is wrong.

5. Failing to Disclose All Available Options

Some scammers will claim they have the only solution available when many options are actually readily available at much better rates. They also hide important information about your other options, so you’ll feel forced into buying whatever service or product they’re trying to sell you right away without having ample time to consider your options. Some of the common ways they do this include:

  • Replace instead of repair: If you have a damaged roof, the scammer will try to convince you it’s in your best interest to replace your roof instead of repairing it. It may seem like an easy solution, but replacing rather than repairing can be very expensive and can cause serious damage to everything underneath your new roof during installation.
  • Sell unnecessary products: Roofing repair and replacement services aren’t the only things scammers will try to sell you. They may also try to convince you that your roof requires new gutters, downspouts, chimneys, vents, skylights, or shingles. Sometimes they’ll happily even install these products without asking for your approval.
  • Push certain brands: Scammers can also pressure you into using their preferred brand of materials or equipment without disclosing the other options available to you. Rather than allowing you to choose the best material for your roof, they’ll force their expensive preference on you.
6. Failing to Give a Written Estimate Before Starting Work

When you hire a reputable roofing contractor, they’ll usually be more than happy to provide you with a written estimate before they start working on your roof. However, scammers will rarely give anything in writing since it makes it more difficult for them to take advantage of homeowners. If they’re not willing to put what they plan to do for you in writing, it could indicate that they’re trying to hide something from you. Always request for a detailed quote of the work to be done before they get started.

7. Being Incredibly Pushy with Sales Tactics

Roofing scammers will almost always be incredibly pushy with their sales tactics. They want to sell you their services quickly, and they’re not going to take no for an answer. They’ll try to use scare tactics, guilt trips, or even outright lies to pressure you into making a hasty decision that you don’t really want or need right away. Sometimes they’ll offer one-time deals that are only available if you act now. These deals can be very attractive at first, but they usually involve signing a contract immediately, and they also leave no room for you to review the document. Unfortunately, these documents are usually full of fine print that benefits the scammers and not the consumer.

8. Asking for Cash Only Payments

While you might be able to negotiate with other roofing contractors to get them to accept payment methods other than cash, scammers will almost always require that you pay in cash only. They don’t want a paper trail to trace back to them, and cash payments are hard to track. If a contractor isn’t willing to take other forms of payment, it could indicate that they’re doing something illegal and don’t want to get caught.

9. Not Having an Online Presence

A reputable roofing contractor should have an established online presence with a legitimate website. They’ll also have references, positive reviews, and plenty of pictures or videos of completed work which you can review for yourself before making your decision. If a contractor doesn’t have a website at all, this could signify that they’re not as trustworthy as you’d like them to be.

10. Ignoring Your Questions and Concerns

If a roofing contractor doesn’t take your questions and concerns seriously, it could be a sign that they don’t really care about what you think. If you bring up valid issues, they should be more than willing to provide you with details about why they do what they do. If the contractor doesn’t seem like they care enough to explain their side of things, it could indicate that their main priority is taking your money and not providing you with a quality job.

How Do You Avoid These Scams?

The best way to avoid these scams is to hire a reputable roofing contractor. You can find them through friends and family, online reviews, and even advertisements on the Internet. However, it’s always a good idea to research your possible contractor before you make any agreements with them. It’s also advisable to follow these steps when looking for a roofer:

  • Check their license and insurance policy.
  • Make sure they’re available to come out and do your estimate.
  • Get every detail in writing before the work starts. This includes how long it will take, what supplies are needed and how much everything will cost.
  • Make sure you only make full payment after the work is complete, not before.
  • Call their references to find out more information about them.
  • Get everything in writing by a certified public accountant.

If a contractor is willing to provide you with the information you need promptly, and they’re not pushy about making a quick deal, you can rest assured you made the right choice. If you are looking for a trustworthy roofing contractor, call us today. We will meet with you and will provide a free estimate. We look forward to working with you.

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