/ Home & Energy

Cold call warning: rogue roof repairs

In the wake of storms Ciara and Dennis, rogue cold callers have sensed an opportunity. Our guest, Hertfordshire Trading Standards, tells us what to watch out for.

This is a guest post by Hertfordshire Trading Standards. All views expressed are its own and not necessarily shared by Which?. 

Hertfordshire Trading Standards is warning residents to be aware of cold callers offering to do work on your home, such as roof repairs, in light of the damage caused by the recent storms Ciara and Dennis.


‘Roof renovation service’

Cold callers may exaggerate the work needed or the need for the work to be done at all, and may charge much more for the work, which may not be of a particularly high standard.

Here in Hertfordshire, we’ve been made aware of cold callers offering a ‘roof renovation service’.

The service generally involves pressure-cleaning and painting the roof; it is very expensive, and experts advise that it can be likely to cause damage to the tiles, harm the lifespan of a roof and create an unnecessary need for ongoing maintenance.

Use a reputable tradesperson

If your house is damaged and you do legitimately need repairs carried out, then please ensure you use a reputable tradesperson to carry out the work.

We always advise that you should obtain three independent quotes for the work required.

It may be that you can speak to friends and family and ask for recommendations of traders they have used and that they’re happy to recommend, but we appreciate that this isn’t always an option for everybody.

Since 2016, Hertfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards team has been working in partnership with Which? Trusted Traders to help connect consumers to good tradespeople.

The joint scheme provides a list of businesses including roofers, electricians, plumbers, builders, handymen and many more that have passed an assessment before they’re able to become endorsed.

If you have any concerns about a potential rogue trader or require consumer advice, please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.

This was a guest post by Hertfordshire Trading Standards. All views expressed were its own and not necessarily shared by Which?. 

Have you been cold called by someone offering roof repairs or a ‘renovation service’ out of the blue?

Have you received a cold-call about home repairs?
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Spotted anyone else attempting to take advantage of the damage caused by the recent storms? Let us know in the comments.


I guess many folk will have home insurance that should pay out to repair storm damage, see:-https://www.thesun.co.uk/money/10975549/how-claim-insurance-home-damaged-storm-ciara-storm-dennis/

In such cases, the insurance companies may also know of both good and bad traders in one’s area.

I did try finding a Which? Trusted Trader when I needed some fencing repairs a few years ago, but they were too few and between to be of many help there – and the one that I did contact by email never even bothered to reply 🙁

It can depend on the area sometimes Derek – hopefully the coverage will have improved since you tried to find one. It’s very odd one didn’t reply though – I’ve used a few over the years now and they’ve all been great (I attempt to say that in the least biased way possible!)

Raymond says:
21 February 2020

Try getting three quotes from roofing companies during severe weather almost impossible unless your willing to wait, ok if your not having water ingress

My comment is not about an existing shoddy repair, but to prevent someone being tricked into a future unnecessary and possibly shoddy repair.

I live in Bedfordshire. I received a cold call from someone called John (No company name) who said that since I had had my loft insulation installed a few years ago, under the Government Scheme, it would now be liable for ‘sweating’ and would need to be inspected and possibly replaced. (It was actually installed by British Gas and there is no sign of moisture.)

He offered an appointment that afternoon.

When I said that I only dealt with known companies and with appointments made in advance, in writing, John ended the call.

I have reported the call to Action Fraud, because John’s telephone number seemed to be a valid landline for one of the surrounding areas.

I had a kid with a van turn up and tell me I had a cracked tile that had slipped which he’d fix for a tenner.

For some reason he was furious when I said ‘No’.

T. Cousins says:
21 February 2020

So did I. He said his father was working down the rod and that he (the boy) had seen the cracked tile from a point which couldn’t possibly have been visible from the pavement.

C Waddell says:
22 February 2020

Re this sort of behaviour I work with someone who is from a Romany traveller family in Sussex, who used to work for his Father’s building company for some years before changing direction completely. He told me that it was common practice for his Father’s business to cold call at someone’s house and say that they had noticed that there appeared to be some loose tiles on their roof (when there weren’t any) and would they like him to check them. If the homeowner said yes then they would get up on the roof and purposely break roof tiles and then get the job to do the replacement and earn the money. I must admit to being shocked to hear this and he thought it was funny. He said it was widespread in their community for these sorts of practices. As someone who, myself, does have some Romany ancestry, albeit several generations back, I was ashamed to hear these sort of practices normally being done to the old and vulnerable.

I had exactly the same experience with Irish ones one Friday afternoon. Working in the area, noticed my roof tiles were loose, showed me a book of repairs. Normally I wouldn’t let them in but I felt pressure from my wife who was undergoing cancer treatment at the time. & in the end they conned me into paying £700 for practically nothing. I regretted it the moment they left. A month later their boss came round and after telling him I was conned he tried to talk me into doing further repairs thinking I was a soft touch the first time around. I lost my temper & told him in no uncertain terms to stop harassing me as my wife was severely ill which had no effect on him. Even then he tried to persist. I did warn my neighbours after my bad experience to be aware of Irish workers telling them on a Friday afternoon their roofs were faulty.
Once bitten twice shy as the saying goes but it gives me nightmares every time I think how easily I was conned.

Michael McHale says:
26 January 2021

Mike writes,
Something similar happened to me a few weeks ago and normally I just say I already have a reliable builder. This time I almost fell for it as the foreman was very convincing and I began a conversation and even let someone on the roof. The foreman gave me a website address and it looked professional. However I noticed that there were no references , and the photos were all taken from brochures, not actual jobs. I checked Company House and the company was registered but without an email address or phone number.I rang someone who was allegedly the boss and listened to the same spiel but by this time I was sure that this was a scam and after a long and increasingly unpleasant conversation the 3 men drove off having restored tiles they had removed, Later I walked to the address mentioned on the website and found a 5 store building with flats on the top floors and a work hub where individuals can rent a desk on the bottom floor but it was closed and had been for some time. The address also seemed to be home for hundreds of firms on line but no indication outside of their existence. Someone had certainly gone to a deal of trouble to convince people that this was a genuine firm.