You get a knock on the door. A roofer driving by sees some damage and wants to take a look. Should you trust them? Investigator Amy Davis looks into what you should know before hiring roofing help. The roofing industry is not regulated or licensed, so you really need to watch out.
1. Warning sign: Offer of free inspection or on-the-spot repair
The Better Business Bureau warns about the signs of a scam roofer. The person may claim their company is working on a neighbor’s home and is offering inspections to those living nearby, or they just happened to notice your damaged roof. But if you ask questions about where the business is located or how their services work you’ll most likely be met with vague answers.
2. Warning sign: Fake inspector may actually cause damage to your roof
If a dishonest “inspector” does not find enough wear and tear to merit a whole new roof, they may fabricate it by tearing off shingles to mimic wind damage (so pay attention and watch what they do). They could also show you pictures of someone else’s damaged roof.
Christian and Jennifer Hernandez from JC and C Roofing joined Amy Davis for an episode of Ask Amy. Jennifer explains how new technology can help avoid this common “fake damage” scam.
“We’re using drones. So we actually and a lot of reputable roofing companies are actually getting software that they can actually fly to drone and actually all the pictures to software where they can actually find out if there is hail or wind damage without climbing on your roof. That’s and that’s really without walking causing damage or walking on the roof or, you know, thinking that they would do something here. So this is really a great solution,” said Jennifer.
Once you get a roof repair quote you should let your insurance company know so they can do another inspection and verify the claims.
3. Warning sign: Pressure you to sign paperwork without explaining what it means
Another trick used is to get you to sign paperwork without explaining what it means. Christian Hernandez warned you to know what you are signing.
“Never sign a contingency agreement if you don’t know upfront what you are getting,” explains Christian Hernandez. “Make sure to check what the warranty that you’re going to get, the shingle that you’re going to get about the payment issue, about repairs or additional repairs that your roof may require. Make sure to have all that it before to before you get this stuck with the company.”
In part, a contingency agreement says if the insurance company approves the claim you guarantee to hire that roofing company.
You should also know about a form called ”assignment of benefits.” This agreement transfers the claim rights to a third party. This gives the assignee authority to file and negotiate a claim directly with the insurance company and allows the insurer to pay the roofer directly. A questionable roofer could subcontract the job out and pay that person less. In some cases, the subcontractor is never paid.
4. Warning sign: Quickly deliver supplies
Some shady roofers will quickly deliver supplies to your home, sit in your yard, and make you feel obligated to keep your agreement even after you’ve had second thoughts. Abusers typically target upscale older neighborhoods with aging roofs.
Another thing to know: it is against the law for a roofer to tell a homeowner they will waive or pay their deductible.
In Texas, if you sign any kind of contract from a door-to-door salesman, including a roofer, you have three days to cancel the contract for any reason.
Extra way to double-check a roofing company
While it is not required for a roofer to be licensed, the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas has a licensing process for companies that want to add an extra level of accountability and education. Jordan Felder, General Manager of Elite Roofers, recommended RCAT as a helpful tool for consumers.
RCAT requires roofing contractors to go through a rigorous screening and examination process and they must obtain yearly continuing education. You can search for a company’s status on the RCAT website.
You can check out a company’s business rating on BBB.org. Keep a close eye on previous reviews and any complaints other consumers might have had. Doing your own research is one of the best ways to know if a roofing company is reputable or just a cover for a scam.