Watch out for “storm chasers”
When you first hear the term, “storm chaser” you likely imagine a team of meteorologists chasing after the next big hurricane. But in reality, a “storm chaser” can often be the nickname given to those who are trying to trick you out of money through a roofing scam. This has happened here in Tampa, FL, but it is also common throughout the country. In fact, the Tampa Bay Times even reported on this type of scam back in 2014 . You can read the article here.
How the roofing scam happens
A storm chaser is a company or group of individuals who approach homeowners after a big storm has recently come through. This roofing scam usually starts with the homeowner being approached first by the scammer. The scammer will then offer the homeowner a “free” roof inspection to look for damages caused by the big storm. Then, instead of actually performing a legitimate inspection, these scammers will purposefully damage your roof themselves! The storm chasers then offer to repair the damage—that they caused—for cash, or go through insurance claims.
Either way, if the homeowner agrees to get the work done, the scammers win! With cash payments, they will never report the money to the government, and homeowners have no guarantee on their roofing repair. And when insurance is involved, the scammers collect the insurance money, provide poor quality work, and homeowners end up having higher insurance premiums after that! And not only will you lose out on money, but the roofing scam also means you get low-quality repairs that won’t protect you, your family, or your belongings!
How you can identify a roofing scam
- The scammer comes to you
Typically, a trusted roofing company will never cold-call you by showing up at your door. Reputable roofing contractors are already very busy as it is and don’t have the time, nor need, to chase down homeowners after a storm offering free inspections. This is usually a sure sign that the person at your door is likely going to every home in the neighborhood trying to trick homeowners. No matter when a big storm comes through, if you are at all concerned with your home, you should call a reputable roofing contractor, like Stay Dry Roofing and inquire about an official inspection.
2. Exaggerating damage
Roofs are designed to be sturdy and strong, able to take a beating from all elements and keep on protecting afterward. If someone tells you that your roof sounds like it is incredibly compromised or severely damaged, that should throw up a red flag. Even here in Florida, your roof can withstand most big storms. And if damage has occurred, you’ll likely have heard or seen it yourself. If someone is telling you that your roof is damaged and they haven’t even been on it yet, you shouldn’t believe them. Also if they claim other homeowners in the neighborhood or surrounding area have experienced significant damage, you should seek a professional inspection that you schedule yourself.
3.Requesting payment in advance or cash
When a contractor demands you pay them before they even begin, the chances are high that they will take the money then never show up. Avoid this practice at all costs! You should never have to pay for something until the work is complete and inspected. And always avoid cash payments because you will have no chance to get that money back after its changed hands! At Stay Dry Roofing, we ensure our customers are 100% satisfied before requesting final payment, so you should always avoid upfront payments.
4. Low-quality repairs and materials
While you might not be able to identify this ahead of time, many of these roofing scams use low-quality materials and shoddy workmanship when repairing damage. In the end, they may even do more damage to your roof than they do good. One of the best ways to find out ahead of time is to ask about the materials used, then do some online research, or ask your neighbors! The best referrals come from someone you can trust!
What to do instead of falling for these scams
We recognize that it is easy for these roofing scams to work because it is always alarming to hear that your roof has significant damage and that it can be “repaired” for cheap. But you should never settle for a door-to-door contractor. You deserve to get second opinions and if anyone tries to argue with you about them, then they are likely trying to scam you out of money and workmanship.
If a big storm has you worried, call Stay Dry Roofing! Our professional roofing contractors have over 30 years of experience in the Tampa, FL area and give honest, transparent advice and inspections. We are more than happy to provide references and will walk you through our process every step of the way. Call us today to get started and we will provide you with trusted roofing solutions you can rely on!