Florida’s Office of the Insurance Consumer Advocate is urging all Floridians to be diligent when it comes to hiring and vetting roofing contractors. They also warn that if a contractor shows up at your home, unannounced, and they offer to give you gift cards if you allow them to perform a free roof inspection, that you should view this as a red flag.
In many instances, scammers will use this tactic to get a proverbial foot in the door. Once they complete the inspection (regardless as to their findings), they tell the homeowner that their roof either 1) has significant damage that needs to be repaired or 2) that the roof needs to be replaced in its entirety.
Although the bulk of homeowners in this situation say they’re unaware that their roof needed attention, they trust that the contractor knows what they’re talking about, and they agree to have the work done.
Homeowners should be especially wary if the contractor promises that their homeowners insurance company will pay for the job in its entirety- and that no deductible payment will be needed. In this instance, the contractor may also say they’re communicating with the insurance company directly to help streamline the process.
At this point, the scammer often pulls out a tablet and asks the homeowner to e-sign on the dotted line. In most cases, the homeowner agrees, without understanding what it is they’ve signed.
According to the state officials, these scammers are not asking people to sign a work order, but instead, they’re having homeowners sign an Assignment of Benefits. This type of document transfers their insurance rights directly to the contractor. Not only does this allow the “contractor” to file a claim on their behalf, it also allows the contractor to receive direct payment from the insurance company. They can even file a lawsuit against the insurance carrier on your behalf, without you knowing what’s going on.
These types of unlicensed, fraudulent contractors often never start the work they’ve promised- or, if they do start the work, they almost never finish the job. They often tend to target specific homeowners and intend to take advantage of as many homeowners in an area as possible. They may even tell potential victims that they just finished a job up the street for one of their neighbors in an attempt to gain their trust.
If you think you need roof repair or replacement in SWFL, never trust a contractor that’s going door-to-door. For more information on how to hire a trusted reputable roofer, call our office today to learn more.