May 17, 2024
scam alert new roof


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I first heard about this when it happened to my cousin. We were all shocked and just wondered if it was just a huge mistake.

But now, it happened in my area and not 2,000 miles away where my cousin lives.

Then my daughter told me she saw that it happened to somebody out west on Facebook.

So I think all homeowners need to be aware of this.

Here's the story..

My cousin was selling her home and it was vacant so the realtor put it up on the market with the enticing words that it was ready to move into.

One day the realtor goes by the house to check on it and sees about 30 men ripping off the roof. She calls my cousin and asked if she was getting a brand new roof since they had just pressure-washed the roof and it was in beautiful condition.

My cousin was shocked. Nobody was supposed to be ripping off a rook. She calls the police.

Three police cars show up. They get everybody off the roof, line them up, and talk to the foreman who has a piece of paper with a contract and a signature that nobody can identify.

The police then contact the owner of the company who says that they'll be over to the house but it'll take about 3 hours.  He goes on to explain to the police that he got a call from someone who said they were on disability and not able to come to the home to meet him there.

The police asked if he had gotten a deposit for the roofing job. The owner of the roofing company explained that he had gotten a credit card number but he “hadn't run it through yet.”

The police, who were wonderful, then told the foreman to go get the correct shingles to put back on the roof since it was already three-quarters ripped off. (Sidebar: these folks can rip off a roof in 20 minutes.)

After 3 hours of waiting the owner finally showed up. He was upset to learn the foremen had already gone out to buy $9000 worth of shingles. He then told my cousin that she had to sign a contract to put the shingles on the roof.  The police thought this was a good idea so she signed the contract and they replaced the shingles within 2 days.

Twenty-four hours later, my cousin got an email from the roofing company stating that she owed them $29,000 or they would put a lien on the property. this means she cannot sell it and if she does the $29,000 will first go to the roofing company.

My cousin called several attorneys and finally found one who would take her case and got it dismissed but not before she had to pay $2,500 to retain the attorney.

Scenario number two

When this happened in my local area, the seller requested that the roofing company owner be arrested for trespassing and damaging property.  This will now go to court and of course, the seller will not have a lien placed on their property at all.

Feeling helpless

So we feel helpless when we leave our homes whether it be to sell them or to spend six months up north and 6 months down here.

 Could some company come in and take the roof off your house before you even got home from shopping?

 Of course they can.

So here are a few tips to protect yourself if this happens.

First of all, always call the police.  Start writing everything down or record all conversations with time stamps. Even from the time you got the phone call that your roof is being removed to the very last moment when the roof is replaced. Keep a very detailed diary.

Tip #2. Get everybody's name, address, and phone number. this includes all the men that have been working on the roof. You want their names, you want their addresses, and you want their telephone numbers and ask the police to get these for you. The reason you want this is that in a court of law, they're going to have to show up if they are subpoenaed to testify as to how your roof got damaged. Also, it is important that they will think twice before they volunteer to rip someone’s roof off. 

Tip #3.  Make sure that you read the police report before the police hand it in. This is important because you want to make sure that all the details that protect you are not left out of the report.

Tip #4.  Demand that the police arrest the company owner for trespassing and damage to personal property.  If the police in your state decide not to do this, make a note of this and make sure that the police put it in their police report that the owner of the property requested that the owner be arrested and the police refused.

Tip #5.  Call your attorney while you are still with the police to see if you should ask any other pertinent questions. If you don’t have an attorney on standby, reach out to your elder law attorney first to see if they can guide you. If not, you will need to find an attorney quickly and let the company owner know that if a lien is placed on the property, then you will take legal action and file a lawsuit and criminal charges against him. 

Tip #6:  Never assume the company owner is telling you the truth. Roofing companies are required to get documents signed and notarized by the owner.  They must also get a building permit. If there is a mortgage on the property then the roofing company must have a legal “right to work” contract signed and notarized by your mortgage company, you, and themselves. If they say they got the wrong address. This is, of course, their mistake and they must offer restitution and maybe more. A real estate attorney might be able to help you with this.

You have a right to protect your home and your belongings. So, feel confident that you are ready to take action and will know what to do if these scammers come calling. 

I used to feel safe when I knew criminals were locked up but now, the criminals are in our computers, on our doorsteps, and blatantly destroying our homes. But as seniors, we will always speak up, speak out, and fight back. 

To find out about other latest scams, sign up for my Freedom Club membership where I keep updates all these scams. When I open it back up, you’ll be notified.

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