Better Business Bureau: Hiring a roofing contractor
Whether your roof got hit hard by a natural disaster or just needs to be replaced due to time, you need to take certain precautions when it comes to hiring a roofing contractor. The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to homeowners who suffer roof damage:
Do your research. Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts if temporary roofing repairs are necessary.
Stay calm. Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the best of you. Don't be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact.
Shop around. For major repairs, take time to shop around and get three or four estimates based on the same specifications and materials.
Avoid high-pressure sales tactics. Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim to have left-over materials from a job "down the street" or who do not have a permanent place of business.
Get everything in writing (very important). Require a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. The following is a partial list of items your estimate or proposal should include: • The type of roof covering, manufacturer and color.
• Removal or replacement of existing roof.
• Flashing work.
• Ventilation work.
• Who is responsible for repairing/replacing exterior landscape or interior finishes that are damaged during the course of the work?
• Approximate starting and completion dates.
• Payment procedures.
• Length of warranty and what is covered.
Many fly-by-night contractors' below-cost bids seem attractive, but these contractors often are uninsured and perform substandard work or use substandard materials. And always check out companies at bbb.org.
Scammers pose as complaint officials
Are you familiar with the Internet Crime Complaint Center known more commonly as the IC3?
It's the government site for complaining about Internet scams. So naturally, scam artists are now posing as officials from IC3 - They send emails asking if the recipient has previously been scammed, and if so, to provide contact details so the "investigators" can speak with them.
The scammers call the victim, claiming to have recovered the money they lost. The scammer then asks the victim to provide personal information or to pay a fee to release the funds. This is a rather sophisticated phishing attempt. Best advice - delete the email.
Speaking of the IC3, we just got an alert of a new scam. The Internet Crime Complaint Center reports they are receiving several complaints depicting a new scam that uses online ad postings. The schemers offer to pay you to place advertisements on your car.
To make the offer seem more believable, the people committing fraud use the name of well-known companies, such as Coca-Cola, and "sweeten the pot" by offering $400 to $600 per week.
Not bad, when supposedly all you have to do is drive around with vinyl advertising signs wrapped around your vehicle. The offer begins to "unwrap" when they send an up-front payment by cash or money order for more than the promised amount.
They ask you to cash the check and wire the "excess" money to a third party whom they say is the graphic designer for the project." By this time, red flags should be waving for you. Any time you are sent a check or money order and asked to cash it and write a check to send to someone else, it is almost always a scam.
Unfortunately, the checks the people committing fraud send look so authentic some people do become victims and take a financial loss.
Alan Bligh is the executive director of the Better Business Bureau in Corpus Christi. Contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.