Every year, thousands of homeowners fall victim to elbow roofing scams. To avoid falling into such roof repair traps, individuals are advised to take proactive measures before signing on the dotted line with a roofing contractor. Chief among the advice handed out to homeowners is to check out a roofer's qualifications and history before handing over any money.
Unearthing such information, however, can be a time and money sucking endeavor in its own right. But what if that info were readily available, in one convenient place? Well, that much wished-for capability may soon become a reality in one state.
Last month, the state of Oklahoma legislature passed a bill that would require all roofing companies that are operating within its borders to register with the state. The legislation, which is currently awaiting signing into law by Governor Brad Henry, would take effect November 1, 2010 in The Sooner State. Once it does so, Americans across the nation can only hope that their home states will follow suit. In the meantime, those who are concerned about roofing scams should petition their own legislatures to pass similar acts.
Dubbed the Roofing Contractor Legislation Act, the law would levy a fine up to $ 500 on roofing companies that fail to follow its mandate of registering in the state. In addition, it would force roofers to to carry liability and workers' compensation insurance to receive a state-issued registration.
Homeowers in need of roofing repairs are already encouraged to make sure their chosen roofer carries both types of insurance coverage. With the passage of this new bill, however, they'll be able to take off their private investigator hats and breathe easier knowing that if the roof contractor carries a state registration, s / he is adequately covered in both regards.
Why is Oklahoma paving the way in this important step towards roofing contractor registration? Because over the recent years the state has been particularly hard hit by storm repairs. And in the wake of such destruction, desperate homeowners are much more likely to fall prey to scam artists. Knowing this tendency, crafty scammers feed upon their desperation.
This situation became glaringly conspicuous in February 2009, when heavy tornado and storm damage prompted state and local officials to issue warnings about widespread roofing scams. According to an Associated Press article at the time, "In some cases the homeowner pays for roofing work but the work is not completed," said state attorney general's spokesman Charlie Price, "and sometimes the work is done poorly, and when the roofer leaves the state, the homeowner has little or no recourse. "
But some scam artists got even more creative with their ruses. For instance, they would "get a local phone number and buy the name of a former roofing company to make themselves appear to be based in Oklahoma."
By making it a law that all roofers register with the state in which they operate, the Roofing Contractor Legislation Act would virtually eliminate such unsavory situations. To avoid them, all a homeowner would need to do is ask for proof of state registration.