Ask the Contractor: Beware of roof repair scams

Reputable roofers aren’t usually door-to-door salesmen

Roofing crews provide a service but there are storm-chasing roofing companies out for insurance money. (File images)

Roofing crews provide a service but there are storm-chasing roofing companies out for insurance money. (File images)

We have been subject to three door-to-door salesmen trolling through our neighborhood telling us we have hail damage and they were offering their roofing repair services and offering to call our insurance agent for us. We read your column and listen to your radio program and knew to tell them “to get lost.” We contacted our insurance company, found out we did have damage and used a local roofer. Please write a column to warn other homeowners about being cautious.

— Ed and Joanne, Prescott Valley

One of the biggest scams in the roofing industry involves the door-to-door salesmen who show up unannounced with the promise of “something” and offer to call your insurance agent. Believe me, I have heard many stories from local citizens who have been approached or scammed by the door-to-door sales guys. These salesmen are “boots on the ground” that have been trained to sell, and sell hard and that is how they make their commission. Every homeowner is fair game.

Our area had a severe monsoon storm a few months back and these “boots on the ground” door-to-door sales people are targeting neighborhoods with a large number of senior citizens.

Under the guise of “we will pay your deductible” or “we will give you a free roof inspection” or “we will get your more money than your insurance company will give you” or “we will work with your insurance company,” soon the contract is signed and off to the next home they go.

Remember filing a claim goes on your insurance record and could possibly affect future claims or even prompt the insurance company to not renew your coverage, forcing you to get a new policy from a new carrier. To protect yourself, do not sign any paperwork until your insurance company has inspected the roof. Also investigate the company’s background. Several of these door-to-door companies are from out of the area, some are newly licensed contractors and others have several complaints with the ROC.

As a homeowner, please exercise extra vigilance. Watch for fluctuating bid numbers or numbers that do not add up or a contact that is not complete. Watch for high-pressure sales tactics. Watch for the sales person to try to get you to sign something immediately. Watch for an offer or a way around paying a deductible (this is insurance fraud!) Make sure the roofing contractor gives you the manufacturer certifications large manufacturers offer their own certifications to established legitimate contractors. Ask the “boots on the ground” guy to produce a certificate of insurance with the same identification information. A legitimate local company should show you a Certificate of Liability/Workers Compensation both issued in the same name.

Target neighborhoods that have existing worn out 20-year roofs. Usually these older roofs are already showing tremendous signs of wear and it is easy to say that it is storm damage. Also these types of older roofs are going to be more prone to missing shingle tabs, which they will likely call wind damage.

Again, beware if they tell you to sign a contract allowing their company to negotiate with homeowner’s insurance company. By signing these documents, homeowners may be waiving their right to any decision making regarding their repairs or replacement. They also lose control over the insurance settlement, and the entire check of the payment may legally need to be signed over to the storm chaser — regardless of the quality or quantity of work completed. The homeowner may lose some control over materials used, leaving the storm chaser free to cut corners in order to increase their profit.

The company is responsible for the warranty work for two years per the Arizona ROC. Of course, the volume of warranty work is often so great the company ends up out of business, leaving the homeowner with problems.

The roof is one of the most important components of any home. No part plays a bigger role in keeping the elements out, so when a roof requires repair, you have little time to waste.

The desire to have a roof quickly replaced and the fact that most people have little experience working with a roofing contractor can set an unsuspecting homeowner up for a variety of scams.

Again, there are many ways to fall victim to roofing scams. Whether you need a full roof replacement or just repairs after a storm or normal wear and tear, our area has reliable, long-established local roofing companies who will do the job with care and attention to detail.

Remember one of the common red flags you need to be on the lookout for is when a “roofer” simply shows up at your door, offering a seemingly great deal. Reputable roofers typically aren’t door-to-door salespeople; they will only come to your home if you’ve called their company and asked them to visit.

All of our local roofers offer free roof inspections — but they don’t peddle them door-to-door! Any roofer who comes to your door out of the blue is not to be trusted.

Do not sign anything presented to you by a door-to-door roof salesperson. Resist the high-pressure sales. I know I have repeated myself with this article, but it is important.

Remember to tune in to YCCA’s Hammer Time every Saturday and Sunday morning 7 a.m. on KQNA 1130 AM/99.9 FM or 95.5 FM or the web kqna.com. Listen to Sandy and Mike talk about the construction industry; meet your local community partners and so much more. You will be entertained.