Tips to protect against roofing scams

"A stitch in time saves nine." So goes the old cliché. We suspect many Philadelphia readers are familiar with the phrase. Another one goes, forewarned is forearmed. The idea being that by taking preventive action it is possible to keep bad situations from getting worse.

Our region has been the target of some nasty weather lately. Bad storms scoured the Delaware County area and left behind a lot of damage. In one case, a young family's home suffered a fallen tree on their roof. No one was hurt in the house, but now the homeowner faces significant repairs.

Such circumstances serve as prime situations for unscrupulous salespeople, including some in the roofing industry. Very often, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, but after disaster bad business players swarm in leaving consumers who have been taken advantage of. Then, experienced legal help may be required to obtain recovery.

In a bow to the notion that prevention has clear advantages, here are some tips to avoid roofing scams.

  • Watch out for roofers requiring down payments. The representative may say one is needed to buy initial supplies for the job. Experts suggest that to avoid trouble; don't cut any check until after supplies are delivered to the site.
  • Beware of unsolicited estimates from out of the blue or after a storm. This will likely come in the form of an offer for a free inspection from someone going door to door. They almost always find evidence of roof damage, but often it's been fabricated. The way to protect yourself is sign nothing until your insurance company's adjuster weighs in.
  • Don't succumb to pressure tactics. An example of such might be if the company representative says, "We'll get started on your home right away and handle all the insurance issues. But I need you to sign right now." If pressure builds and you aren't comfortable, ask the rep to leave. Don't be afraid to call the police if necessary.
  • Don't accept the estimate "elevator ride." The scenario here is that the contractor comes in with the low bid, gets the job and then identifies or creates issues that result in additional charges and higher costs. It is possible for unforeseen issues to develop on a job, but experts agree terms for how such things will be handled should be in the contract.

Source: Angieslist.com, "Watch out for these 5 roofing scams," Mike LaFollette, accessed July 22, 2016

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