In the past year, the Kansas City area has seen new developments in the roofing industry. Roofing companies new to the area brought their sales tactics with them. We have had numerous phone calls from consumers who are dubious about door-to-door salesmen who are approaching them about replacing hail-damaged roofs. Many callers feel pressured into signing contracts and feel that they purchased something they do not want or need. These salesmen often target areas that have not had hail in years. Based on the calls and inquiries we've received from customers, we have compiled some tips on what you can do to protect yourself from predatory salespersons.
1. Contact the Better Business Bureau when you are contacted by a roofing company. The BBB receives more inquiries on Roofers than any other type of business. Nationwide, the BBB received over two million inquiries on Roofing companies 2009, seven hundred thousand higher than the second highest type of business. Analysis of our records shows that Roofing companies settled only 61% of complaints filed with the BBB, so it is a good idea to make sure they address their complaints before doing business with them. In the Kansas City area alone, we have reliability reports on over six hundred roofers.
2. Don't sign anything during a first visit unless you are absolutely sure it's what you want. Give yourself time to get other estimates. Don't feel pressured into signing anything. Salespeople ask for your business, they cannot demand it. You are under no obligation to do anything, and until you contact other roofing companies, you don't know if you're even getting a good deal. Unless you have knowledge of the industry you will not know if you are saving money.
3. Make sure you need a new roof before asking your insurance company to pay for its replacement. Your roof may only need minor repairs and if you report damage to your insurance company, you may end up paying your deductible and increasing the price of your insurance.
4. Don't sign over power of attorney. A business with a vested interest in getting your money should not have power to make home repair decisions for you. Whether or not the company's intentions are honorable, there is no need to take such steps for a roof. It is your money and your home. If you don't feel qualified to make decisions about home repair, find a trusted individual and ask them to do it for you.
5. Remember, if you sign a contract in your home, you have three (3) business days to cancel for any reason. There are no restrictions or exceptions to this. A door-to-door salesman cannot lock anyone into a contract on the spot. If you decide to cancel, be sure to send the notice of cancellation by mail or fax as well as telephoning the company.
6. If you file an insurance claim, it WILL count against your policy. No matter what the salesperson tells you, filing a claim with your insurance company, whether it's denied or not, can affect the price of your policy. Contact your agent and ask what normal procedures for claims.