After the storm: How to avoid bad roofers

By Jeff Atkinson - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After Tuesday night's storms that inundated parts of the area some homeowners are searching for contractors to do repair work.

Coincidentally this week, the North Carolina Attorney General's Office issued a warning about a scam targeting North Carolina homeowners.

Here's what happens.

Roofing companies are calling, or visiting homes after strong storms pass through.  They inspect the roof then say repairs are needed.  The homeowner is then asked to sign a contract which the roofer claims allows them to notify the insurance company.  Instead, it authorizes costly repair work.

The Attorney General's warning came after an Atlanta-based company American Shingle and Siding went door to door selling the idea of a new roof paid for by insurance.

Once they got their deposit, it was the last customers saw of the company.  American Shingle and Siding since has gone bankrupt.

They call them storm chasers.

Once there's been a storm, they flood an area, trying to drum up business, telling people they need a new roof and they can get insurance to pay for it.

Craig Madans owner of Charlotte-based HOCOA, the Home Owners Club of America, says while unannounced solicitors may not necessarily be scam artists you still want to beware.

"When they tell you they can control what your insurance company does a red flag should go up because they can't," said Madans.

Kevin Wheeler who owns Old Time Carpentry of Charlotte says he sees them all the time -scammers who give his profession a bad name.

"Doesn't make me feel good. However I get their repairs once they've messed up," Wheeler said.

Typically, those who will try to scam you want you to sign a contract authorizing them to do the work until the insurance money comes in.  When the insurance company decides there's not enough damage to pay you're still paying the bill.

HOCOA acts as a home repair network and can recommend the best professionals in any field.

Madans advises seeking out a contractor that's licensed and insured, check for references - not just your neighbor and recommends dealing locally.

"We all want to make sure that our roof over our head is satisfactory because it protects everything. You don't have a roof on your home you have a beautiful view of the sky," he said.

One more piece of advice from the Attorney General's Office:  If you've signed something you have three days to change your mind and cancel the contract in writing.

If you want to file a complaint against a company call or write the Attorney General's Office in North Carolina and contact the Department of Consumer Affairs in South Carolina.

North Carolina:  1-877-566-7226  or

South Carolina:  1-800-922-1594  or

Copyright 2010 WBTV. All rights reserved.