Officials in one Lehigh County community are warning residents of roofing companies that may be preying on elderly residents by talking them into purchasing unnecessary and unlawful home renovations.
Whitehall Township Secretary Dennis Hower says he received multiple calls from residents complaining of overly-aggressive solicitations from roofing companies around Fullerton Avenue, urging them to purchase often unneeded services.
“These companies are relentless in trying to get that insurance money,” said Hower. “They are really harassing some of our residents there.”
Whitehall Mayor Edward Hozza did not specify which companies were engaging in these practices, but spoke of two roofing companies “invading” the township looking to capitalize on this past winter’s severe weather season.
“I caution the residents of the township because some are looking at this as a windfall,” said Hozza of businesses seizing the opportunity brought on by weather.
“They target areas that have had natural disasters and go in and use this tactic.”
Hozza said sales representatives were being sent out on weekends to find potential faults in homes to sell them insurance and roof renovation services.
Officials said that while filling a potential need may not be illegal, they believed roofs were being built without permits and that unlicensed solicitation was going on, both unlawful acts.
“Every one of the contractors must come in to the township for permits. You need a roofing permit to replace a roof in Whitehall Township,” said Hozza.
Hower, who later described the acts as “predatory,” said it was up to the township tp enforce permitting regulations to cut back on this trend.
“I just find it disgusting that they’re kind of pressuring our elderly residents,” he said.
Township representatives urged the elderly community in Whitehall to consult with their family members or friends before signing a contract for service.