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Avoid After Storm Scams
April 03, 2012

Avoid After Storm Scams

The storms that hit Tuesday caused damage to homes and businesses, and while a consumers instinct is to take the shortest path back to normalcy, they should use caution to avoid a second disaster at the hands of schemers. 

“Serious damage from a storm can leave consumers desperate for a quick fix,” says John Riggins, CEO of the BBB of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Inc., “but we’ve seen all too many times that this desperation lends itself to unscrupulous individuals or companies that prey on a consumers need for instant gratification.”

The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice for consumers: 

Home

  • Check with your insurance company first to determine coverage and specific filing requirements; keep contact information handy
  • Be leery of door-to-door workers, whether offering home repairs, inspections, heating and cooling services or speedy insurance processing
  • Shop around for local contractors.  You may need to make temporary repairs, but major permanent repairs should be the result of multiple bids and thorough research
  • Require written bids that clearly identify the materials and all labor charges, as well as the beginning and end of work
  • Do not pay 100% in advance for the work, nor in cash
  • Ask for references from local customers
  • Check out their business review with the BBB
  • Require copies of all licenses, permits and liability insurance
  • When work is complete, be sure to get a notarized statement that all sub-contractors have been paid in full to avoid a contractors lien on your property

Vehicles

  • Similar to home repairs, shop around for a quality vehicle repair service
  • Require written bids that clearly identify the materials and all labor charges, as well as the beginning and end of work 
  • Do not pay 100% in advance for the work nor in cash
  • Ask for references from local customers
  • Check out their business review with the BBB

If you find yourself a victim of poor workmanship or a scam artist after the storm, file a complaint with the BBB to alert others about the individual or company involved.  The BBB of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, Inc. can be reached by phone at 817-332-7585 or on the web at www.fwbbb.org