Better Business Bureau serving Eastern North Carolina is warning consumers affected by Hurricane Sandy to beware of fly-by-night repair companies soliciting your business.
In the wake of a storm, fly-by-night repair businesses take advantage of storm victims through home repair and debris removal scams. They often collect up-front deposits from consumers, but move on to the next town before performing any work.
“The damage caused by severe storms present opportunities for unethical contractors and scam artists to take your money” said Toby Barfield, president and CEO of BBB serving Eastern North Carolina. “It is important for consumers to do their research and get several estimates before committing to a contractor.”
BBB offers the following advice to those who experience storm damage:
Do not pay in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands payment upfront. Once the job is completed to your satisfaction, pay by credit card, as this will provide additional protection if there is a problem.
Get it in writing. Always request a written contract from the contractor you hire. It should clearly state the work that will be completed, as well as how you will pay for it.
Visit bbb.org. BBB maintains reports on businesses across the country. Before committing to a contractor, research the business at bbb.org.
Resist high pressure sales tactics. Avoid giving in to high pressure sales tactics such as the “good deal” you will only get if you hire the contractor on the spot.
Ask for proof of licensing and bonding. Make sure the company you plan to hire has the proper licensing. In North Carolina, contractors must be licensed if the total job exceeds $30,000. Also, verify that all workers are bonded to protect you against theft and damage.
Shop around. BBB recommends getting at least three different quotes from contractors before making a selection. Ask for references as well to ensure that you are working with a reputable contractor.
For additional information, visit bbb.org.