Better Business Bureau Warns of Storm Chasers

February 21, 2013

As we watch the snow fall, and reflect on its apeal to our playful childhood memories, others are watching the weather channel in hotel rooms and imagining dollar signs.

With snow comes stormchasers, out-of-town construction crews who follow devastating storms to capitalize on area destruction. Not all of whom are unscrupulous, but the BBB has had plenty of experience with those who are. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to check out companies who knock door-to-door, offering repairs. They may not have proper licensing to work in the area.

If a roofer or contractor knocks on your door, you can:
  • Contact your Better Business Bureau for a business review. The BBB has reports on thousands of area contractors and a national database of over four million businesses.
  • Contact your city or municipality's licensing office to ensure the contractor you spoke with is licensed to solicit business or do business in your area.
  • Contact the Secretary of State to investigate the business's state credentials. Missouri: 573-751-4153 Kansas: (785) 296-4564.
  • Do not agree to anything right away. Get at least three quotes before committing to a contractor.
  • Read everything before you sign an agreement. If a contractor asks you to sign anything before an estimate, it could, in fact be a contract.
  • Once you've chosen a contractor, get a written contract that specifies a price, the work to be done, the amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor, and a time frame. Require a copy of their current certificate of insurance.

The Better Business Bureau has seen many out-of-area businesses take money and leave town without having completed or even started work outlined in contracts. We've also seen businesses get so backlogged with jobs that customers are left without repairs for several months.

Consumers who do the most research on the business they are dealing with will be the most secure, but there's no guarantees. Consumers who have problems with contractors completing work outlined in agreements can file complaints with the Better Business Bureau.