Roofing Scams - What To Watch Out For

Stephen Vernon
May 7, 2024

Roofing Scams

We don’t want you to be scammed.

Here are some common roofing scams that have taken place and that you should be aware of.

  1. “Free” upgrades
  2. Vandalizing your roof
  3. Kickbacks to Insurance Agents
  4. Subs not getting paid
  5. Exaggeration of scope of work
  6. Pressure
  7. Legal Action
  8. Bad work
  9. Paying your deductible
  10. Taking deposits

“Free” Roofing Upgrades

This roofing scam is mainly caused by roofers offering upgrades between different impact-resistant shingles, such as class 3 and class 4. Do you know the difference between the two? They hope you don’t! 

Image to show the impact resistance of class 4 shingles

If you live in an area susceptible to severe storms, you’ll want to pay attention to what materials you receive for your roof. You’ll generally be able to tell if you’re quick enough to catch the material on the packaging. 

It’s best to get multiple roofing estimates to determine whether you’re getting the free upgrade or if they’re just baking the price into the quote. 

What’s worse is when you get charged the upgraded price and the roofing company installs the lower-class materials, leaving you without any idea what happened. 

Vandalizing your roof

This is probably the most common roofing scam you’ll find online. The estimator tells you that you might have roofing damage, which could be replaced and paid for by insurance, but they have to go up on your roof to check. 

They don’t find enough or any to file an insurance claim, so they create their own look-alike hail damage. 

One way they do this is by dime spinning. On a warm day, they take a coin (sometimes a dime) the size of hail and push and spin it into the asphalt to make it look like hail. 

Hail size compared to a golf ball

Another way is to take a golf ball, put it into a sock, and then hit the roof to reenact hail damage. The sock softens the blow but still has the indents, which makes it more realistic. This one is harder to conceal, as you’ll hear the blows on the roof. 

How can you counteract this scam? Be present while your inspection is happening. Make sure you have seen the roof's condition before someone else goes up there and tries to tell you what shape it’s in. 

Kickbacks to insurance agents

This is a hard one to find out about as a homeowner, but it’s still a scam. 

Sometimes, roofing estimators will send stacks of gift cards to insurance agents, prompting the insurance agent to work only with one roofing company in the area.

They pad their pockets with money and then tell you, the homeowner, that you must use an x-roofing company for your roof repair or replacement.

It doesn’t sound like this is a good, reputable referral. This is a hard one to catch, but it's not the roofing company you’d like to work with—or the insurance company/agent, for that matter. 

Subs not getting paid.

Sadly, this is very common. We often hear stories of liens being placed on homes because roofing companies didn’t pay the roofing supplier or the subcontractors doing the actual work.

You can get around this scam by asking for proof of payment to subs or asking your friends and family for referrals. There are good roofing companies around. Ones that have been in business for 10+ years are generally a safe bet and have a good track record of paying their bills. 

Exaggeration of scope of work

This is a great way for a roofing contractor to get some extra cash from the work performed. 

All they have to do is exaggerate the work to fix your issue. Do you need a roof repair? Well, you need a full roof replacement. Do you need a pipe boot replaced? Well, we have to replace this whole section of shingles.

Get multiple quotes. This is hard when water leaks into your roof during rainfall, but multiple quotes will tell a full story. 

Get more than one estimate. Don’t let one contractor pressure you into hiring them for the job.”


Section taken from Blue Jay Renos

“The salesperson shows up to take some measurements and do an estimate. Once they finish their assessment, out comes an estimate template with your name and address already filled in. Before you know it, the salesperson has filled in the template, passes it over to you, and hands you a pen. The salesperson says: “We have an installation opening for next Thursday. Would that fit with your schedule, or is there another day that works better?”

You’ve got to make the decision now! It’s best to sleep on it - roofs are a big ticket item. Generally speaking, roofs last at least 25 years. Don’t make a 25-year decision because of high-pressure sales tactics. 

Legal Action

This mainly happens if you try to back out of a contract. They’re trying to lock you into doing business. A good roofing company will always try to make happy customers and not rely on your one contract to stay in business. 

If a contractor hasn’t incurred any expenses yet for that project, you can back out. They’re just trying to strong-arm you into giving them your money.

Bad work

Most homeowners won’t get on the roof to check the quality, much less know what good vs bad workmanship is. 

For Cenvar Roofing, we use Owens Corning shingles primarily, which has a roofing manual that gives step-by-step instructions on how their materials are supposed to be installed. 

If you’re paying for such a high-ticket item, you should research what components are used and how they should be installed. 

Paying your deductible

Roofers paying all or some of your deductible is illegal. Short and simple, you’d be committing insurance fraud. 

Some ways they try to get around this:

  • Place a sign in your yard and $500 (or whatever cost your deductible is)
  • Names of your neighbors ($250 for each name)
  • Rebate after the job is done
  • Write you a check
  • I’ll do it for whatever your insurance says they’ll cover

Look at this great article for more information on roofers eating your deductible.

Taking deposits

It’s common for contractors to require deposits before work is started. Generally, at contract signing.

One warning signal is if the roofing company has out-of-state license plates.

Angi has a good article on what to do if this unfortunate situation happens to you.

At Cenvar, we don’t require payments until the work is finished and you’re satisfied. Again, look for referrals from friends and family to ensure that you’re working with a reputable roofing company. 

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