Angie’s List: Avoiding post-storm scammers

MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – When homes get damaged by storms , wind, or hail, scamming contractors will soon circle. If you stay informed, it can help you from becoming the next victim.

Roof replacement is a big job and a major investment, so when Green Frog Restoration told Eric Park they could replace his hail-damaged roof at no cost to him, it seemed like the perfect solution.

“He drew up an estimate and said that they could pay the deductible of 1,500 dollars, so we wouldn’t have to worry about that and it shouldn’t cost us anything. Great, we’ll get a new roof,” Park said.

Park didn’t know that most states forbid contractors from paying a homeowner’s deductible. He thought everything was above board.

“Just from the way they were talking, I had no reason to not believe they’re on the up-and-up. They know what they’re doing, they know the business.”

But not so, says Judd Haag of Bone Dry Roofing, “It’s an unfortunate reality of the business.”

In fact, their smooth sales pitch was a scam.

Haag continues, “These scam artist contractors will say, ‘Hey, all we need is we need that first check. You give that to us, we’ll get you scheduled to go,’ and then in the worst cases they just disappear.”

That’s exactly what happened. Park signed over his $4,800 insurance check, and every time he called to get a start date, Green Frog had a reason to delay. He eventually had to take out a $10,000 loan and hire another company to do the work.

“They stole my money. That’s a lot of money.”

Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks says, “Be willing to wait for quality. Don’t jump at the first contractor bid that you receive. Get multiple estimates, work with a local company because you don’t want to make an already bad situation worse.”

Haag says, “We really implore customers to follow-up on those referrals. Don’t just take them at face value. Call the people, talk to them. Make sure the company you’re dealing with is a good company.”

Angie says if a contractor gives you a 1-800 number or out-of-state business address, that’s a red flag. Also, you shouldn’t feel pressured to sign a contract on the spot, even if they say they need your signature to get on your roof to provide an estimate.

As for Green Frog Restoration, its owners were ordered to pay back more than $250,000 in Ohio, and still face multiple lawsuits and criminal charges throughout the Midwest.

Categories: 41 Today, Angies List, Daybreak, Local News

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