BBB Warns Homeowners Affected by Severe Weather
WINSTON SALEM, NC (April 17, 2018)…In light of the storm and tornadic activity of this week, the Better Business Bureau of Northwest North Carolina is issuing the following information to consumers affected by severe weather.
The BBB is urging consumers who may have experienced damage to their homes and property to make informed choices when hiring anyone to complete repairs. The BBB consistently experiences an increase in complaints and scam reports after severe weather activity. The demand for services such as roof and gutter repair, tree and yard services, and general home repair creates an opportunity for unlicensed, uninsured, and at times unqualified workers, often called “storm-chasers,” to take advantage of homeowners in the aftermath of severe weather.
The BBB of NWNC recommends the following steps to avoid being taken advantage of in an already stressful situation:
- Resist high-pressure sales. Be pro-active in selecting a contractor and not re-active to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches. Disaster victims should never feel forced to make a hasty decision or to choose an unknown contractor.
- Be especially careful of door-to-door contractors. Many cities require a solicitation permit if sales people go door-to-door. Ask for identification. Check their vehicle for a business name, phone number, and license plates for your state.
- Don’t pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront. Insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual. And pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there’s a problem.
- Get a written contract. Make sure it specifies the price, the work to be done and who will do it, the amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor, and a time frame. Require a copy of their current certificate of insurance.
- Check your insurance coverage. As you begin the process of fixing storm damage, check your homeowner’s insurance to see if your project is covered and how you should proceed if it is.
- Do your research. Find businesses you can trust on bbb.org. You’ll find hundreds of BBB Accredited Businesses, meaning they are held to high standards of accountability, that can help you put your home and yard back in order.
BBB is also issuing a warning to area contractors: Beware of storm chasers who offer to pay local construction companies substantial amounts of money to use the business’s established name, reputation and phone. They masquerade as a local business, collect the insurance money and then move on, leaving the real business to deal with unsatisfied customers due to bad workmanship, unfinished work or unfulfilled warranties.
About BBB of Northwest NC:
BBB®, the leader in advancing marketplace trust, is an unbiased, nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. BBB provides objective advice, complaint/dispute resolution services, and BBB Business Reviews. BBB of Northwest NC proudly serves a 14-county region. Please visit www.bbb.org for more information.
Press release by the BBB of Northwest NC