April showers are supposed to bring May flowers, but apparently Mother Nature had other plans. Freak snowfalls have covered many parts of the Midwest leaving budding tree branches and limbs blanketed with heavy wet snow and ice. As the storm passes, leaving broken trees and limbs in its wake, you can be assured that tree trimmers will be out in full force. The BBB reminds customers to use caution when choosing the right company after Mother Nature strikes.
The Better Business Bureau offers the following tips to homeowners who may have suffered tree damage from this unexpected late spring storm:
· Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements.
· Take time to shop around and get 3-4 estimates. For large projects, ask the tree service how many projects like yours they have completed in the last year. Ask for several local references that are at least one year-old.
· Make sure each tree service you are considering has current liability insurance and workers compensation insurance. All certificates of insurance should be sent from the tree service’s insurance agency directly to you. Otherwise, it could be a fraudulent certificate.
· Require a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. Be sure their name, address and phone number is included in contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety and make sure you retain a copy of the signed contract.
· Pay by check or credit card only when the job is complete. Paying by credit card provides some recourse should the job not be completed as stated in the contract.
Be wary of a tree service that . . .
ü Has no printed materials, letterhead, bid forms, etc.
ü Knocks on your door or solicits you.
ü Offers an unusually low price . . . at first.
ü Only accepts cash payments and/or asks for payment up front.
ü Pressures you for an immediate decision.ü Offers you a discount to find other customers.
Lastly, when an unexpected expense arises, many consumers may turn to popular “deal of the day”websites. There is no doubt that great bargains can be found on the internet, but don’t forget to do your research. Companies that advertise though these sites need to adequately prepare for the potential that they may have a sudden spike in their volume of business. The BBB has seen a number of companies who have been ill prepared to keep up with the demand as a result of their offer. A few things to consider before turning to the internet for bargains:
· If you do not get what you paid for, seek a refund through the company or through the deal site. If you can’t get a refund through either, file a formal complaint with the BBB.
When in doubt check us out. The BBB has information on thousands of companies in our service area. BBB Accredited Businesses promise to uphold our standards of accountability. Let the BBB help you choose a reputable company for your next home repair job.
About the BBB. The BBB is an unbiased non-profit 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 Serving Greater Iowa,Quad Cities and Siouxland Region was founded in 1940 and is one of 113 BBBs. Locally, the BBB has over 3,500 Accredited Businesses and provides reports and on companies throughout the state. Contact the BBB at 1-800-BBB-1600 or email@example.com.