Angie's List: Avoiding roof repair rip-offs

Angie's List: Avoiding roof repair rip-offs

(ANGIE'S LIST) - Mother Nature can wreak havoc on your roof. Heavy rain, strong wind or extreme temperatures all take their toll over time. If your roof hasn't been inspected in a while, it might be time.

Even if you do everything right, a storm or an accident could require you to hire a professional. Angie's List recommends finding three local companies and getting detailed quotes. Make sure you understand what each bid covers.

Before you make a final decision, Angie's List has this list of scams to keep in mind.

4 Common roofing scams

  • Disappearing down payment: This is when a company agrees to replace a roof, but requires a down payment before starting the work. Often, a company representative will say he/she needs the down payment to buy materials or to pay for labor and insist the homeowner sign over an insurance check or give cash. Once money is in hand, the homeowner never sees the contractor again.
  • The storm chaser: This scam involves people who literally follow storms to find areas with property damage. They pass out leaflets and knock on doors offering free or dramatically cheap work in exchange for cash. They rarely finish or do quality work once they get cash in hand.
  • The fluctuating bid: Sometimes referred to as the “elevator ride,” contractors offer a bid dramatically lower than other companies in the area. Once the job begins, unexpected costs and unforeseen problems appear. The contractor might claim an increase in the cost of materials, or find damage that wasn't addressed when the contract was agreed upon. In some instances, the contractor will literally remove the old roof and threaten to leave if additional payments aren't made. By the time the job is finished, the bill is substantially more than what was initially agreed upon.
  • High-pressure sales: these tactics usually involve a contractor who shows up to a scheduled consultation, or unannounced in a neighborhood where other homes are having roofing work done. Promising a special deal or exceptionally low rate, the contractor will pressure the homeowner to sign a contract on the spot. If the homeowner puts up any kind of resistance to the sales pitch, the contractor will make dishonest claims or mislead the homeowner to enter a legally binding contract.

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