Tree-trimming scammers usually offer bargain rates for tree-trimming services but when hired, they take their customers' money and leave the work unfinished. You can protect yourself from such scams by checking out a tree-trimming service on bbb.org.
Strong thunderstorms that rolled through the Mid-South this week toppled trees, downed power lines and caused damage to roofs, homes, cars and fences. BBB is warning homeowners to be on the lookout for scams involving clean-up efforts such as tree or limb removal, and fence, roof, or home repairs.
“Homeowners with downed trees on their homes, cars and fences are often anxious to have those trees removed so they can assess and repair the damage they caused. But they should remember to take the time to check out companies before hiring,” said Randy Hutchinson, BBB of the Mid-South president. “BBB can provide you with a list of BBB Accredited tree trimmers, fence companies and contractors who have pledged to treat you fairly,” Hutchinson added.
Door-to-door solicitors offering to remove trees from your property may not be around to respond to calls from homeowners whose repairs weren’t adequate. Consumers can use their smartphone to check out someone who shows up unbidden at their door by going to bbb.org.
“Anyone with a chainsaw can claim to be a tree service company,” Hutchinson said. “Check first so you don’t end up with a problem later.”
BBB Tips for Dealing with Downed Trees and Other Storm Damage:
- Be wary of door-to-door workers who show up unsolicited offering to make repairs. This includes companies offering to remove fallen trees and branches. Find out if they are a local company who will still be around if you need to call them back out after repairs are completed.
- Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Keep copies of receipts for emergency repairs for reimbursement later.
- Avoid acting in haste. Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, don't be pressured into signing a long-term contract. Make temporary repairs if necessary.
- Take time to shop around for contractors, get competitive bids, and check out the contractor with the BBB at bbb.org or by calling 901-759-1300 or 800-222-8754.
- The BBB can provide you a list of BBB Accredited Businesses to choose from, including roofers, tree removal companies, fence companies and other home repair businesses.
- Get everything in writing. Prepare a written agreement with anyone you hire that outlines the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Review it carefully before signing. Make sure the contract includes the company’s name, phone number and physical address.
- Never pay the full amount of repairs in advance. 30% is a standard down payment. Pay with a credit card if possible, which offers you more protection if the work is not completed as specified.
- File a complaint with BBB if you have a problem with any company that you can’t get resolved yourself.