7 Simple Tips to Help You Avoid Crooked Roofing Contractors

Roofing Contractor Scams

8000 Reasons to Choose Roofing Contractors Wisely

Roofing fraud is a big problem.  Unsuspecting homeowners get scammed out of their hard-earned money every day by roofers or fake roofers who take their money and never deliver a roof. In 2012 alone, there were nearly 8,000 consumer complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau regarding unscrupulous roofing contractors. 

These figures represent only the tip of the iceberg. There are undoubtedly thousands or even tens of thousands more roofing scams nationwide that are never reported to the BBB.

We examined the story of a Texas woman who recently lost $14,000 to a crooked roofing contractor who promised to help replace her hail-damaged roof. He quoted her $25,000 for the roof replacement including a $14,000 down payment. The roofer took the money and skipped town. She’s now out the $14k and may never get it back.

There’s also a recent story of a phony roofing contractor in Arkansas who was sentenced to pay back more than $137,000 to customers he duped out of money in the past. This is one of the rare cases the phony roofer was actually caught and punished for his crime. In most cases, victims of roofing scams never see a penny of their money back.

Be on High Alert for Roofing Scams

By far the most common roofing scam involves taking advantage of homeowners dealing with the aftermath of a major storm (i.e., Hurricane Sandy, Katrina, etc…). These are the times where door-to-door roofing contractors flock to storm-damaged neighborhoods like ants on sugar.

Out-of-state roofers often head to storm-damaged areas to help with the increased need for roof repairs and replacements. Some of these are quality roofers looking for extra work. Some are scam artists looking to make a quick buck and flee. Beware of roofers driving unmarked trucks, carrying no business documentation (business cards, other information), and those with no proof of license and insurance.

7 Simple Tips to Help You Avoid Crooked Roofing Contractors

  1. If at all possible, avoid hiring a roofing company going door-to-door, especially if they’re from out-of-state or have no documentation or questionable documentation.
  2. Ask your friends, family, and neighbors who they hired for roofing work. Did they like their roofing contractor?
  3. Ask the roofing contractor for local references - names and phone numbers of a few recent jobs nearby.
  4. Find roofing contractors from reliable online sources (Hometown verifies credentials like license and insurance... and collects trusted reviews from verified customers)
  5. Unbelievably low pricing is a possible indicator that the roofing company may be up to no good. Never choose a roofing contractor based solely on who quotes you the lowest price.
  6. Ask the roofer for documentation showing license, insurance, and any other credentials.
  7.  Don’t pay the roofer upfront so they can go “purchase the roofing materials” for the job. There’s a chance they could take the money and run.  No down payment or a 10% down payment is best.  A larger down payment is OK if you've done your homework and are extremely confident the contractor is trustworthy.