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BBB warns against potential contractor scams while repairing homes from storm damage

11 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, August 02 2023 Aug 2, 2023 August 02, 2023 8:32 AM August 02, 2023 in 2une In
Source: WBRZ

With this week's severe storms, it's a good time to be aware of any scammers that could be claiming to help you with storm damage done to your home.

It's always good to stay prepared and know the warning signs so you don't fall victim to any kind of theft.

When these natural disasters strike, oftentimes, it brings out the best in people—strangers wanting to help one another in need. However, the aftermath of a storm also brings out so-called contractors taking advantage of those who have already been victimized.

When these storms hit and cause significant damage, hundreds are looking to hire companies to come out immediately to repair their homes. The Better Business Bureau is warning homeowners affected by natural disasters to beware of "storm chasers" and out-of-town contractors soliciting business. 

"Understand that when there's a storm and there's been significant damage in the area, most of the legitimate contractors are going to automatically be busy," said Carmen Million, President and CEO of the BBB Southeast Louisiana. "Understand if you can wait, do so to make sure that you get a legitimate licensed contractor.

"If you can't wait, you need to be very cautious about who you hire. Make sure you check with your insurance company. Make sure you're covered. People make bad decisions in a bad situation, and we understand that you just don't want to be victimized once more than once."

Although not all storm chasers are scammers, they may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes, or make big promises they can't deliver. If you plan to hire a contractor, always make sure you're getting estimates, make sure everything is in writing and pay with a credit card, and be sure to do your research.

"Tell them that you're going to be calling the licensing agency and the Better Business Bureau before you hire them," Million said. "Always get a bid in writing, never agree to do anything without some kind of contract in writing, never pay a company in full until the job is completely done, and never ever pay a substantial amount of money upfront. Another warning sign is if they asked you to write a check and put it out to an individual's name and not a business."

They say to trust your gut. If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. You can always call the Better Business Bureau to report any kind of scam and get a list of contractors. You can also visit their website for more information on scams.

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