Better Business Bureau Warns of Potential Storm Chasers

  
     
October 06, 2016


(Myrtle Beach, SC)  – The potential damage that may be caused by Hurricane Matthew can bring out the best in people, as strangers reach out to help others in need. Unfortunately, the aftermath of a crisis also brings out contractors who take advantage of those who have already been victimized.

As a follow up, your Better Business Bureau is warning local residents that may be affected by the storms to beware of storm chasers and out-of- town contractors soliciting business. “It is not uncommon for out-of- town storm chasers to solicit business after storms,” said Sandy Gamby, Interim CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Coastal Carolina. “Storm chasers may not have proper licensure for your area and may offer quick fixes or make big promises to which they won’t deliver.”

Your BBB offers the following tips for storm victims:

  • Plan ahead by creating a list of trustworthy, local storm repair and clean-up contractors before the storm hits by visiting visit bbb.org/myrtle-beach.
  • Contractors may require licensing in North or South Carolina. To check whether a contractor is registered, contact South Carolina's Contractor's Licensing Board  http://www.llr.state.sc.us/pol/contractors/ or the North Carolina Licensing Board of General Contractors nclbgc.org    
  • Many municipalities require a solicitation permit if sales people go door-to- door. Verify that they need to have a permit by contacting your local Township or Municipality. BBB suggests consumers be pro-active in selecting a contractor and not re-active to sales calls on the phone or door-to- door pitches.
  • While most roofing contractors abide by the law, be careful allowing someone you do not know inspect your roof. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work.
  • Check online with sc.gov (South Carolina) or sosnc.gov (North Carolina) to verify that the company is registered to do business in your state.
  • Try to get at least 3-4 quotes from contractors, and insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual.
  • Do not pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront.
  • Resist high-pressure sales tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.
  • Get a written contract that specifies the 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.
  • Pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there’s a problem.
  • Check that the contractor’s vehicle has signs or markings on it with the business name, phone number and license plates for your state.
  • Beware of price gouging of commodities or services; if there’s a “gross disparity” between the prior price and the current charge, it is considered price gouging. If you think you are being priced gouged report it to your local BBB (bbbinfo@coastalcarolina.bbb.org) or the Attorney General’s office (North Carolina - ncdoj.com; South Carolina - scag.gov)

BBB of Coastal Carolina 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 in other areas of the country. After doing repairs paid by insurance companies, the out-of-state 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. Start With Trust. For reliable information, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry and BBB Business Reviews you can trust on local businesses, visit bbb.org/myrtle-beach.

For more information or to schedule an interview with a BBB spokesperson, contact Sandy Gamby at sgamby@coastalcarolina.bbb.org

 

ABOUT BBB:

For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB of Coastal Carolina which was founded in 1987 and serves 15 counties in North and South Carolina.