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Raising questions on raising the roof
First of a three-part series dealing with roof replacement prompted by damages to residences from the April 27 hailstorms.

Ask to see a license.

That’s the bottom line local residents should remember when searching for contractors to repair their hail-damaged roofs or siding. And it’s certainly a concern when considering hiring out-of-town contractors or “storm chasers.”

“It’s certainly what you should ask if a contractor just shows up in your driveway,” said Christopher Garrett of Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance’s Consumer Affairs Division.

That conversation should go something along these lines, he added: “‘You’re a contractor? Let me see your license number and give me a list of references and if everything checks out, I’ll call you; but you’re not going to do any work to my house right now and I’m certainly not going to give you any money.’”

Asking for a license “is a great way to save expense and headache and the whole unfortunate experience of being scammed in the first place,” Garrett said.

The first red flag in recognizing illegitimate contractors is watching out for builders or remodelers who approach consumers individually.

“When you do have instances of storm damage, it’s not uncommon for people to present themselves to obviously damaged homes and say they are contractors looking to make the problem go away as quickly as possible,” Garrett said.

But legitimate contractors are unlikely to drive around looking for damaged homes and offering their services, Garrett said, and will instead wait for a consumer to hire them.

The second thing to do is ask to see a license number.

Then, Garrett said, a homeowner should check the license number to verify it is legitimate at

Consumers can even see if their contractor is on a “problem contractors” list, or has had complaints lodged against them, at

What’s more, the state board for licensing contractors doesn’t have the authority to take action against unlicensed contractors.

“So it’s really important for people making their choices for home contractor to check with the state first to make sure the choices they are weighing are all licensed people,” Garrett said.

Otherwise, consumers could be left with few options if a contractor proves to be a scammer.

According to Garrett, the state has multiple resources online for consumers seeking more information on contractors, including the CHAMP program, which mediates complaints between consumers and contractors, plus ways for consumers to file complaints against contractors.

“The complaints a consumer files can have an impact,” Garrett said.


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