BBB Scam Tracker has received multiple reports of free roof inspection scams that ended up costing homeowners. Although free roof inspections are nothing new and are standard practice in the roofing industry, scammers have found a way to exploit it.
Learn how the scam works, what the red flags are and how to avoid getting scammed.
How the Scam Works
Somebody shows up at the door claiming to represent a roofing company that’s doing work in your area and offers you a free roof inspection. To the best of your knowledge there’s nothing wrong with your roof, but you decide to go ahead since it is free.
After inspecting your roof, they give you the bad news: your roof is in urgent need of repair. They might even suggest that you need a whole new roof.
In many cases, these “inspectors” will fabricate damage if they can’t find any. They’re typically not local and will reply with vague answers when you ask where they’re based.
These scammers go house to house after a storm looking for work. They’re often not licensed or qualified to take on complex repair or replacement jobs. Any warranties given are typically worthless. By the time you try contacting them to get a resolution they’re long gone chasing the next storm.
High Pressure Sales Pitch
Some contractors pressure homeowners to sign on the dotted line. For every argument you have against committing yourself right away, they have a counter-argument. It’s often a “today only” deal. Being pressured to sign an agreement is unprofessional.
A common sign of a roof replacement scam is when a contractor requires a large deposit. Another red flag is if this particular contractor submitted the lowest bid. There’s a high likelihood you’ll never hear from them again once you’ve made the down payment.
“Free” Roof Repair
The scammer tries to convince you that you won’t have to pay your homeowners’ insurance deductible or that they will somehow reimburse you for it. Any roofing contractor willing to commit insurance fraud and who wants to involve you in the scheme should be reported and avoided at all costs.
How to Avoid Roofing Scams
- Beware of unsolicited free roof inspections – A contractor that shows up at your door isn’t a good samaritan working for a local charity. They want your money or reimbursement from your insurance company.
- Work With Your Insurance Company – If your roof is damaged during a storm, file a claim under your homeowners insurance. Your insurance company will appoint an insurance adjuster who will arrange for the damages to be inspected. Hiring a roofing contractor before you’ve received the go-ahead from your insurance company is risky.
- Do Your Research Before Hiring a Roofing Contractor – Check out roofing contractors through BBBlasv.org. Read their reviews and note any complaints filed against them. It’s one of the best ways to determine if they’re legitimate.
- Only deal with licensed roofing contractors – Repairing or replacing a roof requires hiring a contractor with the necessary skills and experience. In California, that would typically be someone who has received a C-39 license from the Contractors State License Board.
- Get a Second or Third Opinion – Don’t rush into anything. If an unsolicited contractor says your roof needs to be repaired or replaced, don’t just take their word for it. Get a second opinion or even a third opinion, especially if you’re not aware of any damage to your roof.
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