WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA) -- It seems to be a ritual of spring, people showing up at your door offering to go repair storm damage to your roof.
How Roofing Scams Work
A person appears on your door step and says he or she is working int he neighborhood, and will give you a free estimate to repair your roof.
The person goes onto the roof and comes back down and says the roof needs significant work and supports the claim by pictures of damaged and loose shingles.
But, how do you know if those pictures are of your roof? You don't.
Then you are told that a signed contract is necessary before the insurance company will give the authorization to do the work.
Alarmed at the possibility of rain damage to the interior of your home, you sign a contract that has a clause in it specifying a penalty of 20 to 30 percent of the job cost if you cancel. Of course, the clause is buried in the fine print so you don't even realize what you have just signed.
Another variation, the crook gives you a low-ball bid in order to get the job, and then raises the price before he will finish the work. Or, gets a down payment and then skips out on you.
Most scam operators try to convince you to do the job right away so you don't have time to get other estimates or check out the company.
Others will claim they have to go into your house to check for leaks and help themselves to your valuables. Do not let strangers into your home.
How Homeowners Can Protect Themselves
Make sure the company has insurance. Otherwise, you could be stuck with damages if an accident occurs when work is being done on your home.
Call the insurance company to verify that the insurance really exists.
When someone claims there is damage to your roof, check it out yourself by using binoculars to view the roof from several angles.
Payment to a company shouldn't be made until you have checked it out. Ask for references and follow up.
In addition, check to see if the company is licensed to do business in your area.
District of Columbia
Use your binoculars to make sure the roofer(s) is actually doing work and not enjoying a rest on the roof!
Director, WUSA 9 Call For Action