Home makeovers and repairs are on the rise, as we try to make our spaces more livable and functional. But even if you prefer to DIY most projects, some inevitably require the help of a professional. Finding a reliable contractor is where you can run into trouble, as there are many contractor scams in the industry.
“While on the ground supporting our customers, some have told us that they have been approached by contractors going door-to-door to offer repair services with deals that seem too good to be true,” explains Bryant Vernon, Chief Claims Officer at Aviva Canada. “It’s important for everyone to protect themselves against contractors who may be taking advantage of homeowners especially after a severe weather event.”
Here are some of the most common scams to beware of, and some tips on what you can do about them:
The storm chaser.
These nomad roofers go across the country chasing hailstorms and other natural disasters. They are quick to show up on your doorstep after a severe weather event. Familiar with how insurance companies work, these contractors charge a hefty amount using inferior quality products and promise to help you close your file quickly with the insurance company. But they are nowhere to be found should you find yourself with a leaky roof a few years later.
The unbelievably low bid.
This roofing contractor will offer a bid that is far lower than any other construction companies in the area. But once the job starts, unexpected costs and unforeseen problems may suddenly appear. Some contractors may even resort to removing the old roof or threaten to leave the roof bare if additional payments aren’t made.
The door-to-door free roof inspection.
Similar to the storm chaser, this door-to-door salesperson will come knocking offering a free roof inspection. They will go up on your roof and possibly fabricate damage to mimic storm damage or show you a photo with roof damage from a different home and claim it came from your roof.
What you can do
Always do your research and get a couple of quotes from reputable companies to compare before deciding on the one to hire. Be cautious of those asking for upfront deposits and make sure the payment structure is clear from the beginning. Ask about all the steps of the project, completion times and liability insurance. While not required by law, a company that does not have liability insurance means any damage to property resulting from the renovation may not be covered by them.
Find more information at aviva.ca/en/tools/approved-vendor-and-contractors-program.