Fire In Oakhurst Threatens 500 Structures and heads for Bass Lake

August 19, 2014

During hard times for the residents of Oakhurst and surrounding communities, your BBB would like to advise homeowners and other residents affected by The Junction Fire burns in Oakhurst to be cautious when dealing with contractors who may contact you. Unfortunately during times like these there are scammers that take advantage of not only those doing good, but also those that need the help the most.

For those who want to help, take your time if you're approached to donate time, money, or goods. Don't give until you're satisfied with the answers; charities with nothing to hide will encourage your interest. Be wary of any reluctance or hesitation to answer your questions.

Below are some BBB tips for the fire victims:

Do not make any permanent repairs until you get approval from your insurance company. Your insurer might not fully reimburse you for repairs made without their authorization.

Contact your insurance adjuster immediately. Not only does this get the ball rolling on the claims process, but you might be eligible for loss-of-use benefits, which means you, could be reimbursed for hotel costs, food, and other living expenses while your house is unlivable.

Contact your BBB at 1-800-675-8118 for a business review or visit us on You may also use our FREE Request a Quote program which allows you to get a FREE quote from our Accredited Businesses. 

Be especially alert in dealing with contractors.

Ask them if they have a license with the Contractors State License Board. If they do work over $500 they must have one. Verify it by calling the CSLB at 1-800-321-2752.

Obtain a written contract.

Carefully read and understand any warranty offered and watch for provisions that would void it. The lowest bid is not always the best option. Remember, a price is only one criterion for selecting a contractor. Professionalism and quality workmanship also should weigh heavily in your decision.

Pay the contractor at the end of the job, or pay only for the portion of the job that has been completed.

BBB tips for those who want to help:

Ask for the charities full name and address. They should also be able to provide you with identification, whitepapers and pamphlets on their organization and cause.

Ask if your donation is tax deductible; contributions to tax-exempt organizations are not always tax deductible.

Don't succumb to pressure to give money on the spot or allow a "runner" to pick up the donation; the charity that needs your money today will welcome it just as much tomorrow.

Never donate cash; write a check out to the full name of the charity, never the collectors name or an abbreviation.

Call your BBB if you have any questions or are suspicious of a potential scam at 1-800-675-8118.