Complaints about rogue cold-calling roofers to the Confederation of Roofing Contractors (CORC) remain high. Our guest explains how you can avoid falling victim.
This is a guest post by Gemma Doherty of the Confederation of Roofing Contractors . All views expressed are her own, and not necessarily shared by Which?.
Members of the public contact the Confederation of Roofing Contractors (CORC) every week to complain of ‘roofers’ knocking on their door, telling them they can immediately attend to work as they’re ‘in the area’.
It’s a problem that Hertfordshire Trading Standards reported here on Which? Conversation in February, and it hasn’t gone away.
Once a victim gives the authorisation to proceed, the contractor informs them that they have discovered that much more work is required and the cost is considerably more.
This puts the homeowner in an uncomfortable position as they feel pressured into making a snap decision. In most cases, it’s the wrong one. The work does not need doing.
Targeting vulnerable homeowners
The elderly and vulnerable in particular are being targeted, so the CORC is working closely with Trading Standards and Age Concern to ensure anyone looking to mislead a customer is brought to justice and prosecuted.
In March 2019, the CORC was contacted by a care agency after one of its service users, who is elderly and has dementia, was approached on her doorstep by rogue roofers.
They told her that her roof was in serious disrepair and that she would need to pay them £5,000 to put it right. She signed contracts and waited for them to return the same day to carry out the work.
Fortunately a member of care staff contacted the CORC to discuss what had happened, and we advised that it should be stopped immediately. We managed to contact the roofer and the transaction and work was prevented.
In April, a roofing company replicated the technique with an elderly, deaf gentleman living in Wales. He paid £13,500 for the ‘work’. Unfortunately, we were not contacted and his roof has been left in complete disrepair.
All his savings were stolen, so this month the CORC started a social media campaign to get his roof repaired free of charge. We’re delighted to say we’ve successfully found a contractor who is donating their time, skill and materials to help.
— CoRC (@corc101) September 29, 2020
We provide a printable leaflet to put by your door, or send on to friends and relatives, to help warn them when unscrupulous traders come calling.
Our advice to anyone undertaking roofing works is to always get three quotes, and meet the traders who will be carrying out the work. Once you have those quotes together, decide on which you feel is a fair reflection of the job.
You are always welcome to call the CORC – we will go through the quotes with you.
A roofer should always provide documentation in a professional way (not just hand written on a piece of paper!) and you should make sure you have a contract including a 14-day cooling off period, and a breakdown of the works.
If you’re having more than 25% of your roof done, please call your local council and ask to speak to building regulation to see if they need to come out. It’s a completely free call and they will give you an answer over the phone.
Always ensure you have been given a receipt for payment and, if you are not happy with any aspect of the work, you are completely within your rights to hold back payment from the roofer until you’re satisfied, as long as you let them know exactly why you are holding the money back.
Do you have experience of a rogue roofer?
If you’re aware of any traders or ‘crews’ who are cold calling and operating in your area, please let us know immediately. All information received is totally confidential.
We are a completely free service here to help members of the public make the right decisions when hiring a roofer.
You are free to call us for any help and advice whenever you like on 01206 306600.
This was a guest post by Gemma Doherty of the Confederation of Roofing Contractors . All views expressed were her own, and not necessarily shared by Which?.