At Williamson Insurance, we understand that your home is not just a place; it’s an investment. When it comes to roofing projects, we want to ensure that you are well-informed and protected from potential scams. While many contractors excel in their work, unfortunately, there are some who may not have your best interests at heart. In this blog post, we’ll provide you with essential tips to help you navigate the process of hiring a roofing contractor and avoid falling victim to scams.
The Risks of Unreputable Roofing Contractors
Roofing projects are significant investments, and choosing the wrong contractor can lead to financial loss and unfinished projects. Moreover, there are contractors that have made it a business of going into areas that have been heavily hit with weather events and “finding” damage so that they might pass the cost off to an insurance carrier. The problem there is in the amount that they charge an insurance carrier to replace a roof compared to the actual cost to do so. There are statistics that show that some dishonest contractors will charge 500% to 800% more to an insurance carrier than if they were doing the job for a private consumer. This practice contributes to the increase in insurance costs and ability for individuals to be insured. In worst case scenarios, some dishonest contractors may demand large down payments, only to vanish without completing the job, leaving homeowners stranded with no repairs and no refunds. Others may engage in subpar work, necessitating costly redoing of the entire project.
Tips for Choosing a Trustworthy Roofing Contractor
- Get Recommendations: Seek referrals from friends, family, or online platforms to find contractors with a proven track record of quality work.
- Research Multiple Contractors: Obtain estimates from at least three different contractors to compare their proposals. Be cautious of contractors with limited projects for you to review.
- Verify Credentials: Ask for licensing, certification, and proof of insurance, ensuring the safety and success of your roofing renovation.
- Check Online Reputation: Visit the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau websites to assess the company’s reputation. Look for any previous lawsuits filed by the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section.
Protecting Yourself from Roofing Scams
Follow these practical tips to safeguard yourself from potential roofing scams:
- Do Not Sign ANYTHING: There are contractors who will provide you with a form which they represent as a “consent” to access your roof and inspect it for damage. What many of these forms contain is fine print that indicates that you are entering into an agreement to have that contractor complete the job. Simply put, you should never affix your signature to any form or document that they present to you without first consulting your agent or insurance carrier adjuster.
- No Cash Payments: Opt for traceable payment methods to maintain a detailed paper trail in case of issues.
- Get It in Writing: Document all promises and agreements in writing to avoid misunderstandings.
- Payment to a Company: Be cautious if a contractor requests payments made out to individuals rather than the company.
- Know Your Rights: Familiarize yourself with Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act, providing consumers with a three-day cancellation period for most contracts signed at home or locations outside a company’s normal place of business.
- Watch for Red Flags: Be wary of contractors claiming to have leftover materials from a nearby job or offering unrealistically low prices – these may be signs of a potential scam.
Your protection and peace of mind matters to us, and by following these guidelines, you can confidently navigate the process of hiring a roofing contractor. If you ever suspect a scam or encounter an unfair business practice, contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at www.OhioProtects.org or 800-282-0515.[Source: Ohio Attorney General’s Office – www.OhioProtects.org]