Beware of Scammers

A man posing as a roofer made news this past March for scamming people in the St. Louis area. He managed to con thousands of dollars out of unsuspecting homeowners before being caught.  Check out this news video with the details.

Warmer weather is finally approaching and not a moment too soon.  While we welcome this time of the year with open arms, there can be a very unpleasant side to warmer weather: severe storms, high winds and hail.  If in the unfortunate event that your home or business are damaged, it is a good strategy to be equipped to manage the aftermath.

It’s important to be aware that storm activity also activates storm chasers. There seem to be no shortage of scammers taking advantage of unsuspecting homeowners, particularly in the wake of severe weather. There are several steps you can take to make sure you select a reputable and legitimate contractor to address your repair needs.

Do your homework. Before hiring a contractor to repair damage, research the company to ensure they are licensed and insured.  Check with your local Better Business Bureau to check overall rating and to see if any complaints have been filed. The Roofing and Siding Contractor’s Alliance (RSCA) is a fantastic resource for established, respected companies in the St. Louis area.

Ask for references.  One of the best methods of knowing the quality and reliability of a company’s work is to ask your friends, family and neighbors. Your insurance company can also be great resources when selecting a contractor. A contractor should also be prepared to provide references.  Again, the RSCA is a great place to find reliable contractors.

Get it in writing. Carefully read contracts prior to signing.  Material and labor costs as well as all work to be completed should be included in the contract. Deposit amounts should be clearly outlined.

Do not pay anything without a contract.  Period.

Beware of significantly low bids.  As with any purchasing decision, unusually low prices are typically indicative of low quality. When it comes to your home, inferior quality should not be an option.

Post-storm periods tend to be the most active time for con-artists, though this advice is always applicable when having work done on your home or business.