If you live in the West, you know that spring came early this year. With warmer weather comes all the home maintenance work that’s been on hold through the colder months. Roofers are especially busy in the spring doing inspections and fixing leaks and other problems that developed during the winter months. With roofers in such high demand, spring is also a time when roofing scams become a major problem. Typically, the individuals who run these scams have little to no experience with roofing work. They might offer a free inspection in which they will undoubtedly find serious problems that need immediate attention. Either way, they promise to do roofing work and collect at least some of the payment up front. If they end up doing any roofing work at all, it’s superficial. By the time the homeowner grows suspicious, the “roofer” is long gone.
That’s exactly what happened to 170 Missourians this year who were scammed out of 650,000 dollars. The three men, who did have some roofing experience, started a roofing company. They took up front payment for work, did just enough to keep law enforcement off their backs, but ultimately made excuses and never completed the work they were paid for. Eventually, their company phone was shut off and the roofing company disappeared.
Homeowners can prevent this from happening to them by being on the lookout for scams like this one.
Don’t venture too far outside your community to hire a roofer. Local roofers rely on the reputation they have within that community. In other words, a local roofer is much more likely to do their best work, because anything less will reflect badly on them. Be especially wary of roofers that don’t have any roots in the community. If their vehicle has an out-of-state license, and if they don’t have a brick and mortar location or roofing license to do work in the community, the chances are they aren’t on file with your local chamber of commerce. Nothing is stopping them from skipping town with your money.
Don’t pay up front
The most important thing you can do to protect yourself is to refuse any roofer that requires payment up front. A common excuse is that the roofer needs money for materials up front. A reputable roofer will have the funds to obtain the materials without upfront payment. Be wary of a roofer who demands payment in cash or who is frequently pressuring you to make payments at the beginning or in the middle of the work.
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