Watch out for these 5 roofing scams

A roofing contractor inspects shoddy work from a previous roofer.

A roofing contractor inspects shoddy work from a previous roofer.

The roof is one of the single most important components of any home. No part plays a bigger role in keeping the elements out, so when a roof requires repair, there’s little time to waste.

The desire to have a roof quickly replaced and the fact that most people have little experience working with a roofing contractor can set an unsuspecting homeowner up for a variety of scams.

Fraudulent roofing contractors prey on vulnerable homeowners and have become increasingly bold in their tactics.

From unlicensed storm chasers to mysterious door-to-door salesman, there are many ways to fall victim to roofing scams.

Angie’s List spoke with five highly rated roofing companies about some of the most common scams, and how to avoid being taken advantage of.  Here are some to watch out for:

  1. The disappearing down payment
  2. The mysterious door-to-door salesman
  3. The storm chaser
  4. High-pressure tactics
  5. The fluctuating bid

For additional roofing information and tips for hiring a roofing company, visit the Angie's List Guide to Installing a New Roof.


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Roofing Scam: The Storm Chaser


hail damaged roof
A hail storm damaged this Phoenix home. Storm chasers look for areas hit by hail, wind or tornados. (Photo courtesy of Lyons Roofing)

Storm chasers are responsible for a big portion of roofing scams. A highly rated Chicago roofing contractor talks about how to avoid these dishonest roofers.


Proffesional looking "DC roofing" truck took me for $6,000.00. Guadalupe County TX. Anyone else fall prey?

Roofer telling everyone living in a townhome area that they need new roofs and it won't cost them a thing. No talk of repair. State they work with insurance companies who will pay because hail is "act of God". Told me they will pay my deductible and roof is free. Many elderly living in this area. Four home currently have signs advertising for this company in front of their homes. I haven't signed anything but neighbor with connecting roof has. Being pressured by townhome association. This smells like a scam to me. Filed complaint with BBB. What else can I do?

what should be my next step to hold the roofing company accountable. I still haven't received anything other than a mechanical lien on my property. I sent a certified letter before I received the lien notice firing the company for 7 different difficiencies in the repair of the roof. NOW WINTER HAS ARRIVED, AND my entire perimeter of my roof has 3 ft ice sickles surrounding the perimeter of the roof. Why would this occur?

Wow....Is all I can say. I own and operate a roofing company in the suburbs of Chicago, doing around 100 roofs a year for the past 10 years. I have managed to maintain an outstanding reputation. This is so dis-hearting to hear. When you are choosing a roofing company three things you should do. Search them on the internet both the company and the representative. If you can not find anything about either one STAY A WAY, and if you find anything negative STAY A WAY. Check with your city to see if they have worked there before, references should be available, but in most cases when you do a roof for someone once your done and there are no issues they tend to forget about you. People also move about every 7 to 9 years so some people are no longer available for references. Most states have licenses for contractors make sure it current and no complaints against it. Your deposit is usually required, but a honest contractor may except a small amount to sell the deal like $500 or $1000 to seal the deal and the balance of the deposit when they are working on the job. Never release final payment until you are satisfied with the work being preformed. Clean up can be difficult when the grass is long and you have a lot of landscaping so cut your grass before they arrive to replace the roof. Most roofers will tarp porches, patio's, and heavily landscaped areas. Remember we are human but you will know if they clean up is good. I personally walk every job I sell the day after and comb the grounds to make sure it's clean. As the salesmen that is your promise to your customer. As an owner it's my reputation and possible a future sale at stake! One more thing HAIL DAMAGE this is real, but don't just go with the guy walking through your neighborhood with a bunch of signs in the yards. They put those there most of the time before they are even doing work. CHECK OUT YOUR THE COMPANY AND THE SALESMEN by searching them on the internet you maybe very surprised at what you almost made a huge mistake. One more thing in most states contracts are not binding if there was no money exchanged or if your unsure of the contract. So if you feel you are being pressured to do the work, sit back relax and know that your in-control and that if you call the BBB or states attorney's office they will most likely run with their tail between their legs. I do not have a cancelation fee if you decide to cancel after I helped you with an insurance claim. Why? you may ask is simple if you don't want me to do the work then I didn't do my job right and you were not comfortable with me as a salesmen . That's it good luck with your projects. Richard E. Jeziorski Schaumburg Illinois

You stated: "One more thing in most states contracts are not binding if there was no money exchanged or if your unsure of the contract. So if you feel you are being pressured to do the work, sit back relax and know that your in-control and that if you call the BBB or states attorney's office they will most likely run with their tail between their legs. " I hired a real estate agent to sell my house. He gave me an estimate by a construction company to sign so that he can renovate the house to sell for a higher price. I signed the estimate which says it's only valid for 30 days. The construction company destroyed the renovation project with poor quality material and work. Then they sent an invoice for over 20k. Then they placed a lien on my house. All without ever speaking to me aside from asking me for money. I just found your comment today and it struck me as crazy because I did exactly what you said. I filed a complaint with the BBB. You want to know what happened? I got sued. I have a lien on my house and I'm being sued. I am a freshman at college, and I am being sued for a house that I am trying to get rid of. Maybe I should just call the states attorney office next.

walls sheet metal, full of lies and short cuts, never get what you pay for, worked there saw houses not papered , wrong paint on metal roofs, many many flaws, not a trustworthy company

Bought a new construction home about 16 months ago. Home inspector asked about flashing around dormers since he didn't see any. Was told by contractor that it was hidden where u couldn't see it on these new homes. Have had leaks around one dormer, roof shingles not laying down and hole in roof where roof meets brick. Now having to get this new roof repaired out of our own pocket. Buyer beware!

Make sure you understand manufacturers warranties.They don't guaranty shingle over shingle.Ask your contractor exactly how the installation process goes.EXACTLY!!!Then read the manufacturers specs on the package of shingles that are to be installed.There are different methods for different shingles.This will also void warranty.Most state laws require a one year workmanship warranty.Demand a longer warranty!!!If they have confidence in their work,this wont be a problem and they will be sure to do a great job.My warranty is TEN YEARS.I'M CONFIDENT IN MY ROOFS,THEY SHOULD BE TOO!!!!!

I just had a new roof installed over one layer of existing roofing on a regular gable roof. I have water dripping from the edges of the end of my house it is just a drip but I think there should have been a flashing put on the edges. This is an insurance job from hail damage. I am not sure what to do or if I should ignore this situation ???? Thanks

I worked for a very reputable and respected national storm damage restoration co. I have to tell you that because you tried to cheat your insurance company by doing a layover when I am sure that they paid to remove all the roofing you got what you deserved. The company that you hired did what you wanted "A CHEAP JOB"so that you could avoid either paying your deductable or to profit from an insurance claim. Either way what you and the roofer have done is commit insurance fraud! So the old adage fits: You get what you pay for or don't pay for.

Call your insurance agency... they are the ones who are most interested in that being done correctly. The insurance inspector should come back out and check it and get it fixed.

Before hiring a roofer, or anyone & I mean anyone who's going to do any kind/type of "Home Improvements" to your home ALWAYS ASK them for 5 references of their previous jobs they've done recently. Not 15 years ago, at least 5 more recent jobs they completed. Make sure you have in your possession : the persons' name, their address & most importantly, their phone number ,so you can call them directly to check & see if the work that was done by the company you plan on hiring did a good job, & that they were satisfied. Also, a good thing to remember too is ask them if they cleaned up after "ALL" the work was completed. If you follow this simple set of questions to ask, you're going to be a happy customer with a happy homeowner inside your home,knowing your Home Improvement really was one !!!

Get some knowledge before hand; about the materials to be used and the installation process. You should always ask the roofer for a sample of the roofing material they will be installing. Make sure that it is the product you specified for the job. Make sure that product brought to the job is that product they install on the roof. If possible watch to see if it is installed correctly. Saddly; I was not able to be present when my mother had her roof installed. And I later found that the !*&%#$^ roofer installed modified bituman roofing instead of the specified EPDM rubber membrane roofing material. It won't last 1/3 the time that of a guaranteed EPDM rubber roof would. PVC roof material would even be better.

I had a high sales pressure team come when we had some storm damage. The neighbor went with this company and they did do a good job. how ever they put on my contract that if the insurance approves my claim they get the job. also on the contract they put down that the price would be LCV. They say I owe them 750.00 which is half my deductible but it is not written down any place. I am disabled and on SSDI I told them I could not afford the deductible and they said no problem don't let it worry you. I should have not gone with them any way now what I can't afford them money what can I do?

The deductible is the customer's responsibility, and you need to pay it for two reasons: 1) That is the agreement one has between them and their insurance company, and in order for you to receive the recoverable depreciation check (holdback), one must prove to the insurance carrier what was spent. If you pay less, then the insurance company should and most likely will reduce the recoverable depreciation check by the amount the roof was discounted. Many people circumvent this by falsifying an invoice for insurance purposes. There is a name for that. It's called insurance fraud. 2). Insurance companies typically value property loss damages by utilizing a pricing database which is updated monthly, and is customized for your local market. Most often it is a program published by Xactware called Xactimate. This program is designed to allow a fair market overhead and profit for your contractor. If he discounts your roof, do you really believe that there are sufficient funds left over to do the job correctly? If so, why don't you keep all the money and just higher a fairy to replace your roof since you are already dillousional. Insurance companies are not in the business of overpaying for damages. They are there to get the customer back in a condition before the loss was not incurred. Not a penny more.

It is illegal an also scamming ur insurance company if u dont pay ur deductable

Wow, the last part could have been a little nicer instead of fairy comments. Anyhow, if this job has not been done yet and you were not told a price before hand, you can void it. They cannot make you get into an agreement not knowing an expected price. Otherwise people would always raise their prices to corner people into unreasonable prices for service.

Boy, that could have been put a little nicer toward the end.

Boy oh boy, we did hire a door to door salesmen and storm chasers to boot. Bad decision which is too late now. Our insurance company agreed there was some storm damage. The roofing company is A- accredited with BBB, we called references given in our area. The roof looks sloppy along flashings joining levels of house. In lieu of replacing warped plywood they shingled over it!! Gutters bent and not fixed. Told by the roofer that the proper hardware was not used on the gutter when installed. I doubt it but! Oh, there was rain the second day of roofing and tarps were not properly placed on the non shingled portion so there are now water stains in the kitchen. Pictures have been taken of all areas. The company has not received payment yet. We are getting a second opinion as to what needs to be done. Salesman is fast talking and talks down to females.Thanks for listening.

when i am giving a estimate on top of a roof were a customer can not see i take pictures so they can see what i do

I hired a roofer from Sheraden, PA (4 years ago) and knew something was wrong when I asked where the flashing was for the front of the dormers and they cut a piece of ridge board shingle and stuffed it under the front of my dormers. Well, I had major water damage in LR & DR and no response from them to repair. A year later I had another roofer on the roof to check my chimney, and he found the old red and white shingles were still on the rear bathroom dormer!!!!! I am a senior living in my family home, so they knew I would never go on the roof. No phone number for this company, all numbers I had were non-working, but they came back to my neighbors house this year and I approached the owner in late April 2012 told him the bathroom needs done, he claims it was a bad employee who is no longer in their employ, and would correct ASAP. NO RESPONSE SINCE END OF APRIL. How can they have a good review on Angies list? They have an F on BBB. I have had my neighbor talk to them (they do jobs for him for his apts.) and still no response to me, a woman, What should I do?

I just had a roofer give me a very reasonable quote from Sheradan PA a father and son. Was your situation a company or private?

Small Claims Court - Civil Procedure. You may be able to do this without a lawyer. Make sure you are not asking for more money than the maxium amount allowed for small claims court - or it will be thrown out. Expect to pay up to $150 for filing fee & court costs. In my opinion, you HAVE to do this - to keep this creep from preying on other elderly people like yourself. Also, you have his name & address - since your neighbor continues to use him. So it's not like he has skipped town & can't be found. Stand up for yourself.

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