Scammers have been defrauding innocent people for millennia; the first record of a scam dates to Ancient Greece. Likely, scams existed long before the invention of writing and during the days when the barter system was evolving. However, as currency became more widespread, scams increased. In more recent times, advances in technology have helped scams proliferate. Technology is not necessarily required for some of the most experienced scammers still successfully taking advantage of American homeowners: fraudsters who pose as legitimate roofing contractors. These scammers know that the average homeowner will only buy a new roof two or three times during their life, and many homeowners only go through the process once. Until roofing scams can be completely eradicated, it is important for you to know the warning signs that you may be dealing with a scammer.
How to Spot a Roofing Contractor Who Is Trying to Scam You
Did You Contact a Roofing Contractor to Provide You With an Estimate?
If someone claiming to be a residential roofing contractor calls you or shows up at your door without having been contacted by you, be very suspicious. The spiel varies, but they may claim that they were driving through the neighborhood and noticed your roof damage. They may tell you that they have contracts signed by several of your neighbors, giving you a great price if you will go ahead and sign a contract while they are there. They may offer to conduct a free damage inspection to see whether you need a minor roofing repair or a replacement roof. Do not sign anything, do not pay them anything, and do not let them on your roof. If you sign a contract, you could be legally obligated to fulfill the agreement. If you pay them anything, you will probably never see the contractor or your money again, especially if you pay them in cash. If you let them on your roof, they could deliberately inflict damage and take pictures to prove to you that you need to take immediate action.
How Much Money Does the Contractor Want in Advance?
A legitimate Austin Texas roofer may occasionally request a down payment, especially if you want an unusual color or custom style that would be difficult to sell to anyone else if you change your mind. Typically, the down payment is about 10% of the total job or just enough to cover the special material you want. A scammer will want at least 50%, and it is quite likely that he will require you to pay for the entire job before he begins work. If you prepay for the work, the most likely scenario is that the contractor will disappear forever, and the best you can probably hope for is that he will eventually perform all or part of the work over the next few weeks.
What Verifiable Documentation Can the Contractor Provide?
Are you dealing with a licensed roofing company? A roof contractor Austin homeowners can trust will be licensed to provide services in the city, and he will be able to provide you with his license number. You can then verify that his license is valid. A reputable contractor will also be able to provide you proof that his employees are covered by his workers’ compensation insurance and that he has a valid general liability policy. A scammer may give you this information, but when you try to verify the data, you could discover that his license was revoked or his insurance was cancelled.
Does the Contractor Have a Local Address?
Scammers usually work out of their trucks, giving you a post office box or motel address as their business address, and they may use a prepaid cell phone for their business number. You want a contractor with a physical location and a permanent phone number. The closer the contractor’s physical address is to your home, the higher the likelihood that you will be able to find him if anything goes wrong with his work.
Does the Contractor Attempt to Pressure You Into Making a Commitment?
One tactic that scammers often use is to scare you into signing a contract immediately. They may tell you that your entire roof is on the verge of collapse, posing a serious risk to your family’s safety. They may claim that the structural integrity of your walls and floors has been severely compromised. They may tell you that their quote is only valid until the end of the day or that manufacturers will be doubling their prices within 24 hours.
Just Call Alpha Roofing Industries
Alpha Roofing is a fully insured and licensed company providing commercial and residential roofing services in the Austin metropolitan area and beyond. Our residential services include metal roofing systems, asphalt shingle installations, emergency roof repairs, moss removal, skylight installations, and flashing installation, repair, and sealing. We have a stellar reputation for quality workmanship, professionalism, and customer service. You can ask for a free quote by filling out the online form or calling 512-777-1086.