Kern County Wildfire Destroys 8 Homes, 10 Buildings

  
     
August 21, 2014

A wildfire northeast of Bakersfield was reported around 2:30 pm Monday, August 18. The fire is located in Wofford Heights on the north side of Hwy 155. In difficult times like these for the residents of Kern county and surrounding communities, your BBB would like to remind homeowners and other residents affected by the Kern County Wildfire to be cautious when dealing with contractors who may contact you.

Take your time if you’re approached to donate time, money or goods and to ask the necessary questions. 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 cencal.bbb.org. 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:

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.

Visit kerncountyfire.org to get more information on fraudulent fire inspectors.