Watch out for “free roof inspections”


With the warmer weather and summer storms, roofing scams become more common. BBB Scam Tracker frequently receives reports of shady “free” roof inspections. Homeowners should be on the lookout for these cons.

How the scam works

You receive a call, or a person shows up at the door claiming to represent a roofing company. According to Scam Tracker reports, con artists often use the name of the state (i.e. Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina) plus “Roofing” or “Construction” as their business name.

The “roofer” offers a free inspection. Why, you ask? The person may claim that their company is working on a neighbor’s home and is offering inspections to those living nearby. But if you ask questions about where the business is located or how their services work, you’ll most likely be met with vague answers, or, if you are speaking on the phone, they may simply hang up.

You accept the free inspection, and the “inspector” shows up at your house. If they don’t find enough wear and tear to merit a whole new roof, they may fabricate it, by tearing off shingles to mimic wind damage. Or they may simply show you pictures of someone else’s damaged roof. Don’t hire this company! Any repairs done by such a dishonest business are not likely to be high quality.

How to avoid roofing scams

• Beware of unsolicited offers.

Most scams begin with a contractor who “just happens to be in the area” and notices your roof or home has the appearance of needing repairs from the outside. Roofing scams typically increase in frequency after a powerful storm, so stay alert.

• Get your insurance company to inspect your roof. Filing a claim with your insurance company goes on your record and could affect future claims or your continued coverage. Before signing any paperwork or contracts with a roofing company, have your insurance company to come out for an inspection to verify the need for repairs or replacements.

• Research roofing companies before you hire. Look at a company’s business rating on BBB.org. Keep a close eye on previous reviews and any complaints other consumers might have had. This is one of the best ways to know if a roofing company is reputable or just a cover for a scam.

Storm chasing has become a multi-million-dollar industry, complete with computerized hail forecasting, teams of outof state installers and trained salespeople who go door-todoor soliciting work.

For more information about hiring a roofing company, see BBB.org/Roofers. You can also find valuable information at BBB.org/ScamTips and our Consumer HQ.

Kelvin Collins is president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving the Fall Line Corridor.

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