Clearing Snow from Roofs: Avoid Price Gouging
If you live in an area of the United States where winter brings heaping mounds of snow, you know that it is essential to clear the white stuff from your roof before spring rains arrive. Clogged gutters, or even water backing up into your house, are not fun to deal with.
But for many people, climbing onto the roof to shovel snow and break up ice dams or buying a roof rake to remove the snow from the ground are not an option. Installing heated cables on the roof can be quite expensive and dangerous as well.
So many people turn to snow removal services to protect their homes. Unfortunately, this is a service where price-gouging can occur after a big storm.
What Is Price Gouging?
Price gouging is when a business takes advantage of disasters or other emergencies by drastically raising their prices on necessary goods and services. It is profiting on a person's or community's vulnerability, which is why it is considered illegal. Most anti-price gouging laws require that there be a connection between the good and its cost, or in the case of those who clear snow from roofs, labor and its cost.
To keep your pocketbook safe from bad actors looking to make a quick buck, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection recommends the following tips:
- Get written estimates before you hire someone.
- Don’t let them rush you into a quick decision. Write up a contract.
- Make sure the service provider is insured to do the work.
It may be difficult for a consumer to determine a reasonable price, which is why it's important to contact a few contractors for a quote, and to ask around amongst friends and family for trusted recommendations.
In times of emergency, or when you have a break in the weather, it's often necessary to have a service performed immediately. It's also likely that contractors will be extremely busy. However, it's important not to allow the time crunch to rob you of your rights.
- Residents Urged To Clear Snow From Roofs Now - And Here's How (Manchester Patch)
- Attorney General Warns Against Price Gouging During Winter Storm (Rochester First)
- Price Gouging Laws by State (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)