Avoid the Scam: The Disappearing Down Payment

Friday, July 6th, 2018 by Sydney Stewart

Avoid the Scam: The Disappearing Down Payment - Image 1

This one begins innocently enough. Your contractor asks you to make a down payment on a roofing job before he delivers materials to your home. You don't think much of this because it only seems right that you're going to need to pay for the work on your roof. It is entirely reasonable for the roofer to ask you for payment up front, right? One would think so. The only problem is after you make this down payment, you never hear from that contractor again! You try to contact him at the phone number he left you, but the operator tells you that the number is not in service. No matter how hard you try to track him down, you can't find him. He's made off with your hard-earned money and left you with nothing in return. 

How It Happens

Many storm companies will go door-to-door claiming that you can receive a “free roof” from your insurance company. While these stormers are a scam in themselves, they often claim that they need a down payment to purchase materials or pay for labor before the insurance company gives you a check. While you may think that this is a valid reason for the down payment – a reputable and successful roofing company should not need any money up front to purchase materials from their supplier.

Why Your Home?

After a hail storm, many “stormers” will flock to your area. There is myriad of information made available to these stormers, either through public record or companies that sell this information. This means stormers can determine whether your home has been paid off. Homes that have been paid off generally have a much longer wait period for insurance checks to reach the homeowner. This is because the check is usually made to the insurance company and then the homeowner, and thus the logistics of this take much longer.

However, this is still a common scam with people who are still in the process of financing their homes. Either way, the salesman will take the check and disappear long before the mortgage company releases the funds – if it even gets are far as insurance approval.

How to Avoid the Scam

First and foremost, NEVER HAND OVER A DEPOSIT CHECK BEFORE A CONTRACT IS SIGNED. A contract creates a legal agreement between both the homeowner and the roofer. This means that if the salesman collects payment and disappears, you have a legal document to reclaim the stolen money if no job is performed. It is always a good idea to wait until after materials have been delivered to make your first payment and make your final payment after the work has been completed.

At My-Pros, we don’t require payment until the materials are delivered and the job is completed. Our goal is to make the homeowner as comfortable as possible with the entire process, as it can be a stressful time. Be sure to always contact an attorney regarding legal issues that may arise due to illegal practices by other roofing companies. Take the time to research the company who seems “too good to be true” or require any sort of down payment without a contract.


My-Pros operates throughout the Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin region, in cities like Rockford, Machesney Park, Belvidere, and Beloit. Give us a call at 1-815-957-0770 or click here to schedule a free estimate!

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1107 N Blackhawk Blvd Unit 6
Rockton, IL 61072