The world is full of wonderful, honest, hard-working people. Unfortunately, hiding among us are a few less-than-decent folks who have no shame about lying to the rest of us.
When it comes to roofing, the door-to-door storm chaser roofing scam is widely publicized, yet people still fall victim to these thieves. Both Angie’s List and AARP reported on the frequency of this scam back in 2012. Unfortunately, it’s still going strong. ABC 2 News in Baltimore reported on the door-to-door roofers as one of the three most common roofing scams.
Also called “roofing gypsies,” these dishonest roofers move around the country following storms and looking for homeowners to exploit. This is how the scam works:
- These roofing gypsies blanket an area that was recently hit by hail or strong winds. They hand out leaflets and often show up at your door unannounced to offer a free inspection.
- The roofing gypsies know how insurance companies work, and they can figure out how much it will cost to put on a cheap new roof. They might ask for money up front, and after you give it to them, they disappear. They also might get on your roof for the “inspection” and lie about the damage or even cause damage themselves. If and when they actually work on the roof, they do the bare minimum and fail to restore the roof to its previous condition.
- The roofing gypsies disappear, and you’re left with a shoddy roof that will probably only last about six years at best.
Unfortunately, these scam artists have no incentive to produce high-quality work, and if they’re good scam artists, there’s no way to track them down and hold them accountable. Many of these storm-chasing roofers have no valid license or insurance.
The good news is that by being aware, you can avoid falling victim to this scam. Simply do some research:
- Ask to see proof of insurance.
- Check the roofer’s license status with your local building department or licensing agency.
- Visit the roofer’s office. If they list nothing but a post office box, that’s a big red flag.
- Ask for references. Visit the work sites mentioned to make sure the references are legitimate.
The ABC 2 News story points out that “…the best roofing companies are busy already and don’t have to solicit”. If a roofer shows up at your door offering to do work for a price that seems too good to be true, turn them away and call a professional you can trust. If you have any more questions regarding the door-to-door storm chaser roofing scam, or if you’d like us to take a look at your roof, contact us.