In January 2020, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released its 2019 Consumer Sentinel Network Report which showed that they received a total of 23,963 reports of repairs, improvements and product fraud in the home. This is an astonishing amount of fraud reported by the FTC, and it can be expected that when its 2020 report is released, the numbers are likely to be constant or increase. Another concern is that although home improvement scams can be exposed to someone, the elderly are unfortunately a prime target for this type of scam. In 2015, the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging named it one of the top ten scams targeting the elderly. It is important that we as consumers try to do what we can to reduce the chances of being exposed to unscrupulous entrepreneurs. A special group of unscrupulous contractors that this post will focus on are roofing contractors.
It would make sense for fraudsters to target and focus on roofs, as roofs are one of the most expensive components in a home. When hiring a roofer, you should look for any warning signs that your roofer may be trying to take advantage of and deceive you. Here are some warning signs to look out for in a roof trash:
- Storm Chasers. Storms drag dishonest entrepreneurs grinding to a flame. These entrepreneurs are called "storm hunters" and they travel to areas that have recently experienced bad weather. They will knock on your door and release flyers that offer to repair or replace your roof. They may mention that they only repaired one roof in your area and may give you a discount. They can try to convince you that they can replace your roof, even if you do not need it, by submitting an insurance claim. Be careful as the work performed by these contractors is usually substandard and the life of the replaced roof can be half or less of a well-designed roof.
- Low starting bid, sudden costs later. Have you ever heard the expression "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is?" Beware of quotes from a roofer that is significantly lower than other contractors. Eventually, these contractors will find unforeseen problems that significantly increase the cost due to the need for more materials, more time to repair, and so on. In addition, they can also try to increase the project's costs due to materials going up in price. Suddenly, your big deal has become an outbreak that threatens to cost you much more than any other entrepreneur quoted you. It should be noted that unforeseen problems can legitimately occur and material costs can vary, but the contractor should not try to increase the material costs in the middle of your project.
- Insurance fraud. Think twice before agreeing with a roofer who promises you that your insurance claim will be met by the insurance company before you make a claim. This crooked entrepreneur can try to commit insurance fraud to get money from your insurance company. One potential way an entrepreneur can commit insurance fraud is by creating two different invoices for the repairs for your home. A lower cost invoice for the consumer and a higher cost invoice for the insurance company. Sometimes the contractor will even promise you that by overpaying the insurance company, he will reimburse your deductible. This is insurance fraud and it can cost you significantly. Your claim may be denied due to fraud and misrepresentation. In addition, your claim may lead to prosecution. Insurance fraud leads to increased premium rates for all consumers.
- Excessive, created or mysterious damage. Another common tactic for shady contractors is to overdo or create damage to your roof. After being visited by a storm hunter, he can go up to your roof to "inspect" the damage. He can deliberately improve or damage your roof.
- High pressure tactics. Beware of the contractor who offers you a special "deal" that is only available the next hour or day. This printing tactic can be a temptation for you to sign a legally binding contract without doing the necessary research to make an informed decision.
- Cheap / substandard materials. Fraudsters try to maximize their profits by using bad materials to make repairs. Many times the repairs they do are just cosmetic and do not really solve the underlying problems in your roof. They only cover the problem that will cost you more money in the long run.
- Large down payment / full advance payment. Beware if the contractor asks for a large down payment or full payment in advance before you finish, or in many cases even start, to work on your roof. Dishonest contractors can take your money and let you keep the famous bag. They can disappear without making any repairs or when the job is half finished.
There are several ways homeowners can protect themselves:
- Call your insurance agent first if you think you need repairs or a new roof due to storm damage.
- Be careful that a contractor knocks on your door offering to inspect your roof without having called them before.
- If a contractor offers to pay your deductible, do not hire them. This may be a red flag as they plan to commit insurance fraud.
- Do research! Talk to more than one contractor and get more estimates.
- Only work with licensed and tied contractors.
- Request references from your contractor and check these references.
- Check your contractor in the Better Business Bureau for complaints.
- 19659013] Get contract terms in detail and in writing.
- Never sign contracts with empty substances in them.
- Never pay a contractor in full before the work is completed. and work is confirmed that it is up to the code.
- Do not be afraid to say no. If your instincts say something is not right, listen to them. Again, if this sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
If consumers do their research, they can ensure that they are not victims, and that the costs of fixing their homes and their insurance premiums will not go through the roof. 19659025] If you suspect your contractor is involved in any type of insurance fraud, contact the National Insurance Crime Bureau at 800.Tel.NICB (800.835.6422).
https: // www. aging.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/217925%20Fraud%20Book%20Final.pdf