Homeowners in the Palmetto State are warned to be vigilant about a particular type of storm chaser—the kind that goes door-to-door offering his services and asking for a down-payment for roof repairs that he has no plants to carry out or complete. These are what you call fly-by-night roofers. Thankfully, a new state law has been passed to protect homeowners against these scam artists.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau says that contractors from various roofing companies in Columbia, SC and other cities in the state often visit neighborhoods that have sustained storm damage to offer their services. Unfortunately, while most of these businesses are reputable, some are not. Hence, the new law gives homeowners the power to cancel a roofing contract within five days of receiving a notice that all or any part of the claim is not covered by their insurance. This new law went into effect July 1, 2013.
Other provisions of the law include prohibiting any down payments to be made until the five day period has expired, and preventing the handling of an insurance claim on behalf of the homeowner. “It is critically important that policyholders are satisfied with the quality of repairs and service,” said Russ Dubisky, executive director of the South Carolina Insurance News Service. “This law helps protect consumers from being pressured into signing contracts and paying upfront for repairs that may be unnecessary.”
As an added preventive measure against scams, Dubisky advises that people should take their time in finding a contractor. He says that you should call your insurance agent first as they can help identify reliable contractors in your area. “Make sure that the claim will be covered; get a quote or an estimate. Some insurance companies can help provide some direction on identifying the contractors in the area that can guarantee the work and guarantee it for the lifetime of the repair,” Dubisky adds.
You may also call your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) to confirm if there have been complaints filed against a particular roofer that you’re considering. If there are a couple of filed complaints, take it as a sign that you should avoid that roofer altogether.