Residents in severe storm damaged areas must watch for contractors who try to take advantage of the situation, warns the Better Business Bureau.
The BBB serving Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas and Iowa is advising both businesses and residents affected by the recent storms to beware of storm chasers/out-of-town contractors soliciting business.
“These firms typically set up temporary shops in the area to capture construction work caused by the storm’s damage. Sometimes they canvass the area with flyers or go from door to door offering their services. While some of these contractors may offer a low price and fast repairs, they may not stand behind their work or have the proper licensure,” warns BBB President and CEO Jim Hegarty.
The bureau offers the following tips:
Get the company's complete name, address and phone number. Be skeptical of any vague or hesitant answers, or no offers of contracts, brochures, or anything in writing.
Make sure your contractor has all the appropriate permits for the work they are doing. Also, check that the company has liability and worker's comp insurance. If a contractor cannot provide proof, beware. If possible, verify that the insurance is active by contacting the contractor’s insurance company directly.
If it is an out-of-town or out-of-state company, ask how any warranty issues or problems will be addressed after the work is done.
Ask for references from previous jobs and check them out before signing the contract.
Before work starts, have a signed, written contract including start and completion dates, exact costs, specific work to be done and warranty information. Read any fine print carefully and understand all terms before signing.
Get at least three quotes from contractors and insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual.
Check with your homeowners insurance to have an adjuster sent to determine if and how much they will cover to repair or replace damaged property.
Be suspicious of a contractor that asks you to pay for the entire job up front.