Be wary of unsolicited offers to ‘fix’ your roof. (Black Press Media file photo)

Be wary of unsolicited offers to ‘fix’ your roof. (Black Press Media file photo)

Mission homeowner chases off scammer who wanted to ‘fix’ roof

BBB issues warning about scams related to upcoming storm season

A Mission senior is warning others to watch out for scammers preying on people worried about the upcoming storm season.

With predictions of “atmospheric rivers” arriving in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, people have shifted from staying cool during the recent drought to battening down the hatches of their homes.

But one Mission resident contacted the Record to say he’s been contacted multiple times by dubious callers claiming that his home is unsafe and needs their storm-proofing services.

“I’m always suspicious about unsolicited calls,” said Tom, who didn’t want his last name used to avoid attracting more scammers. “One guy showed up at my home on the weekend saying my roof looked unsafe. He wanted permission to climb up and ‘inspect’ it but when I asked some basic questions it was obvious he wasn’t qualified. I told him to beat it.”

The local Better Business Bureau issued a recent warning about unscrupulous businesses duping residents into paying for work that either isn’t needed or isn’t up to acceptable standards.

“While most contractors abide by the law, be careful about allowing someone you do not know to inspect your roof,” said the BBB, in a news release. “An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work during slower months. Usually, most roofing repairs happen over the summer. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, have an engineer, architect, or building official inspect it.”

The BBB shared a story of a Surrey man who hired a Vancouver roofing contractor to repair and seal three skylights in his home in October 2021. At the end of the month, the homeowner paid the quoted $1,800 to the contractor via an e-transfer, even though the contractor didn’t provide an invoice.

The following week, the homeowner noticed that there was still leakage happening and he called to report it to the contractor. The contractor said it would cost another $1,400 to fix the outstanding issues. Over the course of several days, the contractor did not answer the homeowner’s repeated request for an invoice until one day he picked up the phone and began threatening the homeowners’ safety and to call the police.

The homeowner then reported the contractor’s business to BBB Scam Tracker and after more research, found that the contractor’s number and email address were tied to more than one home improvement company on Google. He never received the $1,800 back and has been left with a leaky roof.

RELATED: ‘Close call’: Mission woman nearly duped in scam

Here are some other BBB tips to prepare your home for the storm and winter season:

• Get multiple opinions. Shop around and get at least three different estimates before deciding on a contractor to help prepare your home for the storm and winter season. Make sure the estimates are broken down the same way and include warranty information. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics and less than trustworthy businesses.

• Double check their BBB Accreditation. Unfortunately, it’s easy to replicate most logos and paste it on your website or business card, and BBB is not immune. Look up company profiles on BBB.org to find reputable contractors that are trustworthy to get the job done. Also check out the reviews and complaints listed under any company you may be considering working with.

• Before you buy an HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system), conduct an energy audit. This will help you detect energy waste, gauge the efficiency of your current heating and cooling systems, and determine if conditioned air is moving properly. Your utility company may offer free or low-cost energy audits or a do-it-yourself kit. You also can hire a specialist to do a more comprehensive energy audit (though this will probably cost you more money).

• Assemble a storm kit or emergency kit if the power goes out. Be sure to include a battery-powered flashlight, batteries, medical kit, bottled water, non-perishable food, extra money, a list of important phone numbers and copies of important documents. These are your basics to help you escape town quickly in an emergency. Alternatively, these items are crucial if you choose to ride out the storm in your house.


 

@shinebox44
chris.campbell@missioncityrecord.com

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