Insurance Agents, Homeowners Warn About Repair Scams After Severe Weather

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

FORT SMITH (KFSM)—A Fort Smith man said he believes he has fallen victim to a home repair scam.

James Lawrence said he couldn’t got into details pending possible legal action, but he wants to warn people about door-to-door roofing scams.

It all started after a hail storm in the summer of 2016. Lawrence said a roofing company from Oklahoma City knocked on his door.

“They asked, could they go up on the roof,” he said. “I let them go up there.”

Shelter Insurance agent Wade Gilkey said not all roofing companies who come in from out of state soliciting potential customers are bad or disreputable. However, he said he has seen problems with this type of business practice.

“What we find is even after the work is completed, if there's any issue, these people are really hard to track down,” Gilkey said.

Gilkey said to always call your insurance company first to make a claim, so they can come out and assess the damage.

“We can put you at the top of our priority list from a claims standpoint,” he said.

He also suggests hiring local roofing companies and doing your research before you sign a contract.

“A lot of times these scams, these games that these roofers play with buyers, they don't find out until it's too late,” he added.

Lawrence recommended taking pictures before you let someone on your roof and taking pictures after they leave. He also suggested documenting the entire repair process. He said he will do things differently if he gets storm damage again.

“Next time, I will take my time and more than likely hire someone local,” he said.

Gilkey said be wary of free roof inspections, especially if they ask you to sign a waiver allowing them to look at the damage. He said oftentimes people don’t read the fine print, which could lock you into a contract.