Beware of Dodgy Contractors Following Recent Storms

  
     
June 07, 2012

Denver, CO – June 7, 2012 – June is here and so are summer storms. Severe weather hit Colorado last night bringing several inches of rain, hail and several tornadoes. According to the National Weather Service, hazardous weather conditions will occur again Thursday evening, mainly in eastern Colorado.

As the weather passes, many consumers will start to evaluate the damage done and begin the clean up process. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) receives hundreds of complaints every year concerning problems with contractors, and encourages consumers to take the time to properly research businesses before hiring.

“Colorado sits in Hail Alley and storm chasers know it. Unfortunately during stormy summers, our office gets many complaints on contractors who do a poor job, or simply take someone’s money and do nothing,” said Dale Mingilton, president and CEO of the BBB Serving Denver/Boulder.

From damaged roofs, to fallen tree limbs, to flooded homes, the BBB offers these tips for consumers who may be facing repairs due to severe weather:

· Contact your insurance company immediately. Call your insurance company before work begins to make sure all necessary procedures are followed according to your policy. Make sure you fully understand your deductibles and what your policy covers before having any work done. If you do not follow your insurance company’s guidelines, you may be stuck with the entire bill.

· Find a trustworthy contractor. Deal only with licensed and insured contractors. No state license is required for general contracting but licensing may be required at a city or county level. Verify that the contractor has liability insurance to protect you against damage.

· Get multiple bids. Get bids from at least three companies and ask for referrals. Check each company out with the BBB at www.denver.bbb.org.

· Take your time signing a contract. Get a written estimate that includes any oral promises the contractor made. Remember to ask if there's a charge for an estimate before allowing anyone into your home. Ask for explanations for price variations. Get a copy of the final, signed contract before the job begins.

· Avoid paying a large sum upfront. Resist dealing with any contractor who asks you to pay for the entire job upfront. A deposit of one-third of the total price is standard procedure. Pay only by check or credit card – and pay the final amount only after the work is completed to your satisfaction. Avoid paying in cash.

· Beware of door-to-door solicitations. Sudden, severe storms can bring fly-by-night contractors to the area. Often these contractors solicit work door-to-door, have no license or contact information and require high upfront fees before beginning. It has also been reported that such scammers ask for a signature from the homeowner to get on their roof and give a free estimate, but what was signed was actually a binding contract. BBB recommends researching the company before agreeing to have any work done.

· Plan ahead and be prepared. Spring and summer generally bring the most severe weather to Colorado. If your trees need trimming or that hole in your roof needs repairing, don’t wait for another big storm to blow through, get it done now to avoid problems later.

To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit www.denver.bbb.org or call (303) 758-2100.

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About the BBB
The BBB is an unbiased nonprofit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization’s high standards of ethical business behavior. The BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Reviews , BBB Charity Reports and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. To further promote trust, your BBB also offers dispute resolution services for consumers and businesses. The first BBB was founded in 1912. Today, over 100 BBBs serve communities across the U.S. and Canada. Please visit www.denver.bbb.org for more information.