Roofing scam: High-pressure sales
Avoid roofing contractors who demand you sign a contract on the spot.
One all-too-common roofing scam involves a contractor who will show up to a scheduled consultation, or unannounced in a neighborhood where other homes are having roofing work done. Promising a special deal or exceptionally low rate, the contractor will pressure the homeowner to sign a contract on the spot. If the homeowner puts up any kind of resistance to the sales pitch, the contractor will make dishonest claims or mislead the homeowner to enter a legally binding contract.
Scott MacMillan, president of highly rated A Better Roofing Company in Seattle says the high-pressure approach happens all the time in the roofing industry. “A roof is only done once or twice in a person's lifetime so it’s easy to fall victim because there is no point of reference or very little experience in making such a large purchase,” he says.
MacMillan says the reason roofing companies revert to high-pressure tactics is because they typically charge a higher rate and want to get the homeowner to sign a contract and pay a down payment without consulting other companies.
“They want to get the homeowner into a legally binding contract before they've gotten other bids, and because nobody wants to get involved in a legal battle unless absolutely necessary, it’s usually too late if other estimates come in after the homeowner has already signed up with these dishonest companies,” he says.
Other roofing scams
MacMillan’s tips for avoiding high pressure roofing contractors.
1. Do not agree to give a down payment on a roofing project. “A reputable contractor will not be afraid to commit to the project with their own money.”
2. Beware of any roofer who demands “both decision makers” be present for a consultation. “That tactic prevents the homeowner from being able to say something like ‘I will talk this over with my spouse and get back to you,’ and also take some extra time to make an educated decision.”
3. If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, ask the contractor to leave. “I have heard before that they’ll do everything possible to avoid leaving because the likelihood of closing the sale diminishes exponentially once they walk out the door.” The Seattle roofing contractor recommends calling the police if a roofer fails to leave after you have asked him or her to do so.