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Avoid ‘Storm Chaser’ roofer scams

Canton Police Department warns citizens to be cautious when dealing with door to door sales companies that are trying to sell a service after the recent hailstorm that affected the community. While many companies are reputable, some may not have the best interest of homeowner in mind.

According to Police Chief Rick Nichols, the department has received complaints from citizens who feel they are being pressured to sign contractual agreements for work to be completed.

According to information from the website Angie’s List, here’s how a potential roofing scam works: Storm chasing roofing companies blanket an area hit by hail or wind damage and look for unsuspecting homeowners in need of roof repairs. They’ll pass out leaflets and even show up unannounced or offer a free inspection.

The best way to avoid the scams sometimes associated with storm chasers is to do your own research. Ask to see proof of insurance and check the roofer’s license status with the local building department or licensing agency. Keep in mind that while a group or company may have been provided a license by the city to do door to door sales, it is not a guarantee of their work.

Also, visit the roofer’s office if possible. If the company only lists a post office box, it’s a major red flag. It’s also smart to ask for a list of previous customers in your area, and visit the work sites to make sure the references are legitimate. Checking the Better Business Bureau website also can provide a company rating, and they list complaints they have received from unsatisfied home owners. 

Should a homeowner have a question on how their insurance company would like them to handle the claim, the homeowner should consult with their insurance agent before agreeing to any service.

To avoid being a victim of a “Storm Chaser” roofing scam, here are some additional tips:

--Do not agree to give a down payment on a roofing project. “A reputable contractor will not be afraid to commit to the project with their own money.”

--Beware of any roofer who demands “both decision makers” be present for a consultation. That tactic prevents the homeowner from being able to say something like, “I will talk this over with my spouse and get back to you,” and also from taking some extra time to make an educated decision.

--If you feel uncomfortable for any reason, ask the contractor to leave. They understand the likelihood of closing the sale diminishes greatly once they walk out the door. Notify the police if a roofer fails to leave after being asked him to do so.

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