Avoiding Storm Chasers – Part II: Keeping Your Cards Close to Your Chest
After a major storm, those affected are vulnerable to scams, simply because they’re in dire need of help. If you’re ever in this type of situation, you need to keep your guard up even if you do need to get your roof repaired as soon as possible. One of the ways to do this is to avoid divulging information until you’re absolutely certain that you’re dealing with a legitimate roofing contractor.
Below are some questions that storm chasers usually ask and tactics they will at times resort to, to get more information about their potential victims. The way you answer these questions will give the storm chasers insights that could leave you vulnerable to their tactics.
Beware of limited-time offers
Like normal roofing contractors, storm chasers will ask to inspect the damage so they can give you a quotation. However, they’ll also use tactics such as “limited-time offers” to get you to hire them without taking adequate time to do a background check first. Never give in to pressure. Legitimate companies will simply provide you with a quote and leave you to decide. They will never use pressure tactics, especially if there’s widespread damage in your area.
Don’t tell them anything about your insurance policy
Storm chasers will certainly be interested about your insurance policy. Never give out any of this information. What they’ll do is provide you a quotation that’s near or exactly the amount of your policy regardless of the repairs you actually need. If a contractor asks for insurance information right off the bat, find another contractor.
Don’t pay a large amount up front — most certainly not the whole amount
Many scammers ask for a down payment. Others even ask for the entire amount of the contract outright. If the contractor asks for a large sum up front, don’t give in. You would be better off looking for another contractor or asking for a better payment option. Additionally, you should always withhold a certain percentage of the total contract price, which should come due and be paid only when you’re completely satisfied with the job.
Beware of cheap offers
If you think that a roofing contractor’s offer is too good to be true, it usually is. Roofing repairs aren’t cheap, so if the offer is way below fair or reasonable rates for the repairs required, don’t fall for it.
You’ll certainly want your roof to be repaired as soon as possible, but falling prey to scammers or so called “storm chasers” will result in anything but getting your roof repaired. Keep in mind that even though you need immediate help, you still need to deal with a legitimate company. If you don’t know of one in your area, find out the various ways you can accomplish this in Part III.