Editor’s Note: We have a victim willing to speak to the media.
This summer, severe weather has been a common theme, leading homeowners to seek assistance when repairing damages from wind, floods or other storms. For this reason, many contractors seek out customers by going door-to-door. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to do careful research when selecting these types of professionals in order to avoid being scammed.
“It’s easy to be persuaded by contractors who go door-to-door. Never make a final decision or payment to anyone on the spot,” says Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “If someone comes to your home offering to begin work on damage, take their information and tell them that you will follow up if you are interested in using their services.”
Imran Akbari of Chicago was recently a victim of a scam when a contractor demanded money before they finished the job. “These guys went door to door in my neighborhood. The never finished any of the jobs but collected their money because they said they were almost done. Their work is very bad. For my tuck pointing, it looks like they just added more mortar without digging out the old stuff. I paid them before my job was completed and they went right over to my bank. The check did not clear right away. There was no contract and they never finished the work.”
The BBB offers these tips before choosing a contractor:
The BBB is a non-profit, non-governmental organization. It is supported by businesses to protect consumers against scams and other unethical business practices. The group accomplishes this by educating both consumers and businesses, and by highlighting trustworthy businesses. By developing reports and ratings on businesses and charitable organizations, the BBB encourages people to use these as resources and referrals to utilize the free services before making a purchase or donation. The BBB helps resolve buyer/seller complaints through its alternative dispute resolution process. In 2013, the BBB provided more than 22,600,000 instances of service. Over 80 percent of consumer complaints to the BBB were resolved. The Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois is a member of the international BBB system that services the United States, Canada and Mexico.