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Better Business Bureau ®
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Central and Northern Alberta
Better Business Bureau warns of Storm Chasers
June 25, 2013

In a matter of hours after floods began taking homes and businesses in southern Alberta, offers of assistance poured in across social and mainstream media. While the majority of those offers are sincere, BBB warns consumers to be aware of storm chasers and out of town contractors soliciting business.

 “It is not uncommon for out-of-town businesses to solicit business after storms like the ones affecting Calgary,” said Ron Mycholuk, Public Relations Manager for BBB of Central and Northern Alberta. “These storm chaser businesses may not have proper licensing and may offer quick fixes or make big promises to which they won’t deliver.

Your BBB offers the following tips for disaster victims:

  • Do your research - contact the BBB before you hire a contractor and avoid businesses who come to your door with a "good deal"
  • Visit our website at Edmonton.bbb.org to view unbiased business reviews or use the BBB’s free online service called Request a Quote to obtain estimates, proposals or general information from BBB Accredited contractors
  • Request bids from two or three different companies
  • Get all estimates in writing
  • Base all bids on the same criteria
  • Don’t automatically pick the lowest bid
  • Do not give into demands to make excessively large down payments and don't make full payment until all the work is done to your satisfaction 
  • Never sign a contract with blank spaces or one you do not fully understand 
  • Determine whether the contractor has the proper insurance
  • Contact Service Alberta for information on licensing required in this province
  • Work with contractors who have a verifiable track record

Your BBB often sees our of area businesses setting up shop in the area trying to capture construction work caused by a disaster. BBB is warning the area contractors to beware of storm chasers who are willing to pay local construction companies substantial amounts of money to use a local business’s established name, reputation and phone so they can masquerade as a local business.

We have seen this happen before across North America. After doing repairs paid by insurance companies, the new contractors left the area. Many contractors who agreed to let these storm chasers use their name regret their decision once they were left holding the bag of unsatisfied customers due to bad workmanship and/or unfulfilled warranties.

Disaster victims should never feel forced to make a hasty decision or to choose an unknown contractor. For reliable information, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry and BBB Business Reviews you can trust on local businesses, visit edmonton.bbb.org or contact your BBB at 780.482.2341 or toll-free 1-888-232-2341.

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