A severe hailstorm hit the Dallas area last week, causing significant damage to buildings around Plano and surrounding cities – with roofs enduring the brunt of it.
In the wake of such damage, some untrustworthy contractors often surface, leading others to come forward and warn against potential scammers from elsewhere.
According to Karen Fox, executive director of North Texas Roofing Contractors Association (NTRCA), roofers in Texas are not required to have state licensing, registration and insurance, leaving an open door for scam artists, storm chasers and substandard work.
“It’s only been five days, so we don’t have any reported incidents at the moment, but just wait,” Fox said. “Phone calls will start coming in and contractors will be at your doorstep. Right now, we’re just in preventative mode.”
The NTRCA is a nonprofit that aims to help inform and protect consumers in North Texas. The organization is able to offer help and advice for homeowners and property owners in English and Spanish.
“When there’s a storm, a lot of people that do fences or other unrelated work suddenly become roofing contractors,” Fox explained. “They don’t know anything about putting on a roof, yet they’ll get some business cards made and tell people, ‘Yeah, we can put this on for you. Give us your insurance check and we’ll be back.’ Then they never come back.”
To highlight the NTRCA’s extensive related advice on its website, the nonprofit cautions homeowners to not hand over any money and not sign anything until they’ve done their research. A good, local, legitimate roofing company will not rush or pressure a potential customer and will be happy to answer questions, Fox said.
In a post on the Nextdoor site, an online community forum, Plano Police spokesman Officer David Tilley agreed that it is the perfect time for unscrupulous roof contractors to take advantage of unaware homeowners.
He added that there are several reputable roofing companies in the area that will offer honest and fair pricing. Several organizations, including NTRCA, Good Contractors List, Better Business Bureau (BBB), as well as many popular insurance companies, can provide references for such honest businesses.
Tilley advised homeowners to remain cautious when choosing a contractor to do any kind of expensive home repairs.
According to BBB Scam Tracker, at least 175 scams dealing with home repairs have been reported since February 2015, with 16 of them in Texas and seven in the Dallas area.
In 2015, BBB Dallas received 1,058 complaints against roofing contractors. The highest spike in complaints against roofers happened in December.
“This correlates with our record November rainfall and hail storms and the subsequent December tornadoes,” said Phylissia Landix with the BBB. “This was unusual, as BBB finds that customers traditionally work with roofers in the summer months.”
NTRCA officials advise residents to check to make sure the roofing contractor is in good standing with the BBB. A contractor’s amount of experience says a lot about its reputability in North Texas.
The nonprofit also urges residents to research facts about the contractor’s insurance coverage and even request proof of certification.
“I always recommend that homeowners and property owners choose a company that is locally based,” said Curt Ehlers, a national roofing manufacturing representative. “People will come out of nowhere and aren’t reputable or reliable, and there would be no way to track them if they scam you.
“Never give any contractor money for work not done or to buy materials. Any reputable contractor has a supplier that will work with them.”
Read more here: http://starlocalmedia.com/planocourier/news/plano-beware-of-roofing-scammers/article_3a266c2c-f6b0-11e5-bb6c-a791447f66bb.html