ROANOKE, Va. - If your home was damaged in Sunday's storm, before getting it repaired, make sure you don't fall victim to scammers who may be looking to steal your money.
The Better Business Bureau warns that people should be wary of storm chasers and less-than-ethical contractors looking to take advantage of those who need help cleaning up and repairing storm damage.
These individuals can offer services such as clean-up efforts, tree or limb removal, and fence, roof, and home repairs.
Storm chasers often prey on folks who suffered storm damage, going door-to-door offering a “great deal” on clean-up or repair work if the homeowner hires them on the spot, according to the BBB.
Some victims pay up front for work to be done, only to have the shady contractors take their money and run.
Before hiring a company to do any work, storm victims are urged to check a company’s reputation at bbb.org before hiring them to do any work.
Those dealing with clean up and repair from this storm should heed these BBB tips:
- Be wary of door-to-door workers who show up unsolicited offering to make repairs. Just because someone has a chainsaw doesn’t mean they know how to properly remove a fallen tree.
- Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid acting in haste. Don't be pressured into signing a contract or paying for repairs up front to get on someone’s schedule.
- Make temporary repairs, such as tarping the hole in your roof, to prevent further damage until a reputable contractor can make permanent repairs. Remember that you may have to wait for a reputable company to get to your repairs.
- Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Keep copies of receipts for emergency repairs for reimbursement later.
- Take time to shop around for reputable contractors. Get at least three estimates and check out contractors with the Better Business Bureau at bbb.org.
- The BBB can provide you a list of reputable BBB Accredited Businesses to choose from, including roofers, tree removal companies, fence companies and other home repair businesses at bbb.org or by calling 901-759-1300 or 800-222-8754.
- Get everything in writing. The written agreement should outline the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Review it carefully before signing. Vague clauses such as “repair roof” are invitations for abuse.
- Never pay the full amount of repairs in advance.
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