Though it happens more often after large weather events, like big storms or tornado’s, unscrupulous roofers don’t just appear at these times. They are out there all year-round! It also isn’t just the outright scammers that pull these stunts, it’s also some of the smaller lesser-known companies who skirt right up to the line of ethics and the law, just enough to stay out of trouble but not enough to force customers to honor bad agreements.
Tricked Into Signing A Contract Under The Guise Of A Liability Waiver
We recently had a customer who was upset about being tricked into signing a contract from another roof contractor, before the initial inspection was even done and before any estimate was provided!
A door-to-door “roofer” had approached her at home and stated that he could see some potential roof problems from the ground and that she was eligible for a “free” roof inspection. All she had to do was sign a “waiver” to allow the roofer up onto her roof. Assuming it was what he said it was, she promptly signed it, without reading it.
The problem was, she didn’t sign a waiver, but a contract designed to look like a waiver. She had unwittingly agreed to give this company full control over anything they felt they needed to do, charging whatever they felt was necessary.
She now felt she may be stuck with this roofer who tricked her into signing the contract, but she likely wasn’t. Her best bet was to contact her lawyer to examine the case and confirm it was invalid and contact another roof contractor to give a second opinion. At best, she’ll get out of the “contract” without losses or she may be liable for any work done up until the dispute. One never knows and only a lawyer can tell you for sure.
She was fortunate and caught this before work commenced and was smart enough to call Atlanta Roofing Specialists for a second opinion. But not everyone knows that agreements obtained in such a manner are not binding (we are not lawyers and, of course, can not say if your specific agreement is binding or not, but as a general rule, contracts signed under false pretenses are normally invalid. Contact your lawyer to address your specific case). As a result, many homeowners go through the process, thinking they have to, only to end up scammed, left with shoddy work or simply paying too much and likely having to pay another roof contractor to do the whole job again!
AS A RULE, legitimate roofing companies one, don’t ask for signed waivers before getting up onto a roof (we have insurance to cover such things) and two, we certainly wouldn’t present a contract that authorizes us to work and bill for things we haven’t even evaluated.
The bottom line is, never sign something without reading it and never before an inspection is performed and a clear, full estimate is presented.
It’s Not Just Falsely Obtained Contracts, Beware Of Roofers Who Try To Represent Or Negotiate For You To Your Insurance Company
In another instance, a homeowner is again approached by a door to door “roof contractor” and ends up coming into the house, calling their insurance company and negotiating their claim in order to gain control of the project immediately. This is not only unethical, it is illegal if the roof contractor isn’t also a licensed public adjuster (and most aren’t).
Pursuant to O.C.G.A 10-1-393.12 In Georgia, a residential roofing contractor shall not represent or negotiate, or offer or advertise to represent or negotiate, on behalf of an owner or possessor of residential real estate on any insurance claim in connection with the repair or replacement of roof systems unless the residential roofing contractor is licensed as a public adjuster under Chapter 23 of Title 33. State of Georgia Office Of Insurance And Safety Fire Commissioner Bulletin 18-EX–3 PDF
It Pays To Be Vigilant, Even If The Roofer Appears To Be Legitimate
While we are obviously not lawyers and cannot give you legal advice for your particular circumstance, we know the rules and laws we are bound to in Georgia. If you think your roofing contractor isn’t completely on the up and up, and want a second opinion call Atlanta Roofing Specialists at 770-419-2222 and we’ll tell you what we can and if you may need to contact your lawyer to dispute any contracts obtained under false pretenses or insurance claims that an unscrupulous roofer may have been involved in.
Our best advice is to avoid putting yourself in these situations in the first place! Before signing anything or allowing anyone to get on your roof, do your homework and research your roofer to avoid becoming another statistic!
Atlanta Roofing Specialists is a full service residential and commercial roof contractor serving the Metro Atlanta area since 1993! To schedule a roof inspection or estimate, call 770-419-2222 today!