Fly-by-Nighters Look to Scam Homeowners

Remember spring’s never-ending rains? What felt like sub-tropical precipitation meant a lot of area homeowners were inundated with too much rain with no place for it to go. Constant rainfall and leaky roofs are the perfect environment for scam artists to operate.

According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), roofing scams often occur after a storm when a roofer “just happens” to be on your street and notices damage to your roof. Another approach is to knock on your door and tell you they have extra material from another job and can offer you a good deal.

Homeowners should always research who’s working on their home, suggests Dave Muller, Muller Exteriors in Lake Zurich. “If someone knocks on your door to set an appointment only have them come back after you know who you’re dealing with,” Muller says. “Research them on the BBB website and check for reviews on Google and Facebook.”

Muller advises that a reputable contractor must verify any damage first. “Take the time to walk around your whole house and have them physically show you what they are saying is damaged,” he says. It’s also important to give them permission to use a ladder to take cellphone photos to show what’s damaged. After strong storms, especially those that involve hail, make sure only a licensed insurance adjuster or contractor inspects your roof. Dimples and cracks on the shingles are key indicators that damage has occurred.

BBB Tips to Avoid a Scam:

  • Make sure to understand the full scope of a project. Will they do spot repairs or replace the whole roof? Will they remove the old roof or cover it with a new roof? Make sure to understand the pros and cons of the solutions and that everything is detailed in a contract.
  • Ask about clean-up and waste removal. Confirm that the contractor will be responsible for taking away all old materials and cleaning up the site after the work is complete.
  • Consider gutters and landscaping. A roof job will require the use of ladders that can cause damage when leaned against gutters or stuck in landscaping. How will the roofer protect against damage or fix things after the job is done?
  • Plan for bad weather. What happens if there is bad weather while a roof project is underway? Ask the roofer about what they will do to protect the home in case of bad weather.
  • Check for insurance coverage. If a project is for fixing damage, check to see if it’s covered and how you should proceed if it is. (Also check the contractor’s insurance coverage for things like worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability.)
  • Roofing contractors may be certified to install specific types of roofs. Check with the manufacturer to see if the contractor is certified to install your roof.

Muller, a long-time member of the Lake Zurich Chamber of Commerce, suggests hiring local. “We should all support the businesses in the community,” he says. “We live here and take pride in our work. Remember that a local business will still be here long after the storm chasers have moved on.”

Learn more about Muller Exteriors by calling 847.550.5200 or visit mullerexteriors.com.