Crime and opportunity go hand in hand, and although storm chasing isn't a crime some tactics employed by roofing companies after storm events are just criminal!
With more storms today in Melbourne, here's a quick reminder about what can happen post storms...Consumer Affairs Victoria released a statement warning rural Victorians against travelling repairers, and offer a service to dob in the travelling con men.
After a storm event, roofing companies from out of town often set up a temporary camp in the area and then go door to door and offer their services to fix roofs affected by the storm. Sometimes they'll offer to work with the insurance company and make sure that the customer pays little or nothing towards the cost of the repairs. This is a very successful tactic, given that we all know how slow insurance companies can be and how awful it is to have a damaged roof with all our possessions covered in plastic or buckets everywhere.
We wonder if any of our readers have experienced tactics like this, given the storm events across Australia in 2010? Leave a comment below!
Angie's List is a similar service to Service Central but based in the US. They wrotethis great articleabout opportunistic and probably dodgy roofing companies that flood into town after a storm event.
If you haven't, here are a few tips for identifying and protecting yourself against storm chasing roofers...
Don't panic - contact your insurance company first. If you know that the internal damage is going to get worse the next time it rains, do your best to keep the damage to a minimum but also let the insurance company know this. Sometimes they'll prioritise claims that will escalate in costs if left too long. Don't make any rash decisions!
Truck number plates are best to check, or office landline numbers. Storm chasers aren't necessarily bad but probably won't be hanging around for long to ensure maintenance and upkeep is available if the work isn't perfect first time.
Warranties are important but so is a local contact. Out of state or region roofers can team up with a local roofer for longer term support but must provide a warranty that includes travelling inter-state to fix.
Licensing varies from state to state, depending on type of roof and also cost of the job, so be sure to check with your local fair trading or consumer affairs office that their out of state licence is okay to do the work in your state.
More than out of state storm chasers, you also might find local businesses who decide to be roofers after a storm. Sometimes a licence isn't necessary so this isn't illegal, but you don't want an inexperienced cowboy working on your roof.
As usual, Service Central can help with all of this but it's also likely you'll be approached directly so beware!