There are many reputable roofing companies that make every effort to meet the needs of homeowners throughout Texas when the unexpected happens. Unfortunately, there are also some not-so-trustworthy roofing contractors that take advantage of customers in need of urgent roofing work. Oftentimes, it’s after a severe storm that unscrupulous roofers come into areas they don’t normally serve to offer services, sometimes with unique selling points that seem too good to be true. It’s not unusual for the promised work to either be done haphazardly or not at all.
Creating a Registration System
It is precisely because of situations like what was described above that House Bill 2101 was introduced. It’s a piece of legislation that’s designed to prevent and deter roofing fraud and protect consumers. Representative Giovanni Capriglione (R-Southlake) introduced the bill, which creates a registration system.
The system would be designed in a way that allows consumers to gather the information necessary to make well-informed decisions about hiring someone to do roof-related work, especially at times when there is an urgent need for structural damage to be corrected quickly.
Stopping Roof Fraud
Representative Capriglione believes that getting the bill out of committee is a positive first step towards making more of an effort to prevent roofing fraud in Texas. “I am excited to see that the legislature is ready to protect consumers in [the roofing] industry,’ Capriglione said. As it stands right now, there is only so much information that’s available to consumers in need of urgent roofing work.
While it is possible to do a quick search online, there’s always the possibility that websites may be misleading or lack sufficient details to give a homeowner, or even a local business owner in need of urgent roofing work, a clear idea of whether or not a roofing contractor is reputable. Some fraudulent contractors even go as far as posting false or misleading comments on review sites to create a false sense of security, or an image that’s simply not what it appears to be.
Providing Much-Needed Protections
Sarah Burns, the executive director of the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT), firmly feels this legislation will bring the State of Texas closer to being able to provide much-appreciated peace of mind for anyone in need of top-quality roofing work with a valuable resource of easily accessible information. “After a storm passes,” Burns notes, “thousands of Texans can fall victim to scammers.”
The system that would be created if the bill ultimately passes and is signed into law would also allow fraudulent roofing contractors to be tracked down and, if necessary, taken to court. This is because it would require mandatory registration. At the same time, homeowners wouldn’t have to deal with the frustration of trying to get repairs done sooner rather than later and hoping for the best when they take advantage of services available from roofing contractors.
Strong Bipartisan Support
Because of the prevalence of so-called “storm chasers” that swoop into areas affected by hurricanes and other serious storms throughout Texas, this roofing industry house bill has widespread support from both sides of the aisle. This is primarily because unreliable roofing contractors have a tendency to impact all types of districts, including ones populated by homeowners from both major parties.
Plus, “swoop-in, swoop-out” roofing is a widespread problem many people can identify with. This is largely because of the potential for huge financial losses and added suffering at times when people are already dealing with stressful situations and massive personal loss.
Targeting ‘Bad Actors’
The “bad actors” being targeted by this bill are often referred to as storm chasers because they routinely come into cities or towns recently devastated by severe weather and promise to help make necessary repairs — but their main goal is to make fast money off of desperate individuals. The m.o. of a typical storm chaser is as follows:
- They wait for news that severe weather has affected a certain area. “Severe weather” can be anything from a hailstorm to a full-blown tornado or hurricane.
- The storm chaser rounds up their crew, heads to the affected area(s), and offers to perform repair work — often at little or no cost to the homeowner.
- The unreliable contractor uses very aggressive tactics, some of which include encouraging homeowners to use their insurance policy. Some shady contractors even offer to pay a homeowner’s deductible — or they’ll offer cash back.
- They either take an initial deposit and never show up, or they do the work in a haphazard way — which often results in unpleasant surprises for the homeowner the next time a storm hits.
Adding an Extra Layer of Protection
House Bill 2101 isn’t the only way consumers can be protected against storm chasers. However, it does provide another layer of protection on top of what already exists. Both the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission routinely issue warnings when they get word about unscrupulous roofing contractors operating in certain areas.
Even so, these warnings are often issued only when complaints start rolling in about either waiting long periods of time to get any work done or contractors never showing up again at all. The new system that would be created by this piece of legislation puts more direct and proactive power into the hands of homeowners, who are also reminded to
- Ask about warranty coverage — reputable roofing contractors are usually willing to offer some type of warranty or guarantee pertaining to their workmanship.
- Get a phone number that can be used to directly contact the contractor who offered to do the work.
- Not sign anything — some storm chasers use sneaky tactics to get homeowners to sign documents, like insisting on performing an initial inspection and then quickly handing over a document they say needs to be signed.
The bill made it through the House Business and Industry Committee with an 8-1 vote. Because of strong bipartisan support, the legislation has a good chance of advancing through the processes required to turn it into a law. More can be learned by visiting https://www.saferoofsovertexas.com/.