May 8, 2015

Oh Hail! Beware Dallas Roofing Scams

It's spring storm season in Dallas and hail damaging your roof is always a possibility. But beware of scammers posing as legitimate roofers. After the storm passes, these gypsy roofers flock to our neighborhoods offering their services. You'll find loads of fliers and "contractors" knocking at your door to solicit business.

Here are few tips to avoid getting ripped off:

1. If they come to you - knocking on your door - don't use them. Trustworthy roofers are busy after a storm. They don’t have time to solicit business door to door. They’re too busy with work that was referred by satisfied customers. Often these so called "gypsy roofers" will show up at your door posing as a legitimate roofing company. They'll offer an estimate and ask you for a deposit. You'll never see them or your money again.

2. Get a local address and references. Hire an established roofer with roots in the community and a stake in maintaining a good reputation. If they aren't local, don't use them. 

3. Never, ever, ever pay a deposit immediately. Gypsy roofers want deposits up front and contracts signed now. I know it seems logical that a roofer needs a deposit to buy the materials to get started. But an honest roofer isn’t afraid to leave and give you time to think and make an educated choice. An established roofer doesn’t mind starting a job using company money and has funds to buy materials without your help. A roofer confident in his skill wants you to compare his quote and work to others. 

4. Don't let just anyone inspect your roof. Avoid unsolicited estimates and give the insurance adjuster a chance to be the first one to examine your roof for damage. Take photos before anyone examines it. A common scam by storm-chasing roofers is to deliberately cause more damage. When a disreputable contractors gets on the roof before the insurance adjuster, they may use a small objects to cause all kinds of damage. When the adjuster looks at it, the estimate of damage is inflated, allowing the roofer to earn more from the job than he might have otherwise.

5. Don't let a door to door solicitor inside your house. But also be aware that they could be working in teams with one keeping  you busy outside talking about your roof while the other sneaks in and robs you. 

Texas has one of the highest rates of fraud in the roofing repair industry. It is mostly due to a lack of state regulation over roofing contractors. They are not required to be licensed like plumbers and electricians and this allows gypsy, drive-by and storm-chaser roofers. They know full well that insurance adjusters are following close behind after a big storm.

Watch out for them and help warn our elderly neighbors since they tend to be easy targets for these scammers.
[where: 75230]

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