Pratt City Building Inspector warns citizens of roof scammers in the area.
With the recent storm damage inflicted on many homes in Pratt, city inspector Brad Blankenship has issued a warning: roof scammers are flocking to the area.
"We are getting many reports already of roofers soliciting jobs in town, offering roof repairs, and many of them are not legal to do so," Blankenship said. "There are several things we want the people of Pratt to know so that they will not become victims of roof repair scams that have become so prevalent in our society."
Blankenship said that he was, in no way, wanting to insinuate that all roof repair companies were illegal. In fact, there are several in the area that are reputable and very good at what they do, he said. However, with the likelihood that 70 percent of the roofs in Pratt will be totaled by insurance companies after Tuesday's damaging hail storms, caution is the key to finding the right company for local repairs.
"There are three the things the public has to know," Blankenship said. "One, every roofer has to have a license, and it must be shown to the homeowner before any agreement or contract is signed. Two, roofers have to be registered with the state and with the city of Pratt to work in our city limits, no excuses. And three, above all, never give any money to a roofer up front. Always, always, go to an insurance company first to report the damage, then get an estimate, and pay after the job is done."
Blankenship said a common scam in roofing, has been for a roofer to demand a percentage of payment up front before starting the job. Materials needed are then delivered to the home, but the work crew never shows up. Because the homeowner has taken delivery of the materials, they are then liable to be sued by the roofing company, with a lien put on the home for payment, even though the work has never, and will never be done.
Blankenship warned that roofers who come around after hours or especially on weekends, when the city office is closed, are very suspicious and should not be trusted.
"We have so many people who get taken advantage of in this situation," Blankenship said. "We just want people to be careful, and by all means, call the city office and ask for Lola Shumway or myself (Brad Blankenship), and we will check our list of approved workers to see if the names requested are on there."
Pratt Emergency Management Director Tim Branscom said that homeowners with property damage should contact him by email also, at disaster@Prattcounty.org, to report any damage for tracking purposes. Pratt County was declared a disaster zone after the Tuesday, September 24, 2019 storm, and collected damage estimates may open up the possibility of grant funding for repairs in the future.