Watch for scams associated with severe weather
BBB offer tips for consumers facing repairs due to severe weather
AUSTIN, Texas - Jan. 25, 2012 – Severe weather hit Central Texas last night bringing with it several inches of rain, high winds, hail and even reports of a possible tornado. According to the National Weather Service, the hazardous weather conditions will continue throughout the morning bringing with it damaging winds and flash flooding.
As the weather passes, many consumers will start to evaluate the damage done and begin the clean up process. Better Business Bureau receives hundreds of complaints every year concerning subpar work performed by contractors, and encourages consumers to take the time to properly research contractors to avoid creating a bigger problem.
From damaged roofs, to fallen tree limbs, to flooded homes, BBB offers these tips for consumers who may be facing repairs due to severe weather:
· Contact your insurance company immediately. Call your insurance company before work begins to make sure all necessary procedures are followed according to your policy. Make sure you fully understand your deductibles and what your policy covers before having any work done. If you do not follow your insurance company’s guidelines, you may be stuck with the entire bill.
· Find a trustworthy contractor. Deal only with licensed and insured contractors. You can verify licensing information through the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Find a BBB Accredited contractor through BBB Member Pages.
· Get multiple bids. Get bids from at least three companies and ask for referrals. Utilize BBB Request a Quote to get multiple estimates from BBB Accredited Businesses.
· Take your time signing a contract. Get a written estimate that includes any oral promises the contractor made. Remember to ask if there's a charge for an estimate before allowing anyone into your home. Ask for explanations for price variations. Get a copy of the final, signed contract before the job begins.
· Avoid paying a large sum upfront. Resist dealing with any contractor who asks you to pay for the entire job upfront. A deposit of one-third of the total price is standard procedure. Pay only by check or credit card – and pay the final amount only after the work is completed to your satisfaction. Avoid paying in cash.
· Beware of door-to-door solicitations. Sudden, severe storms can bring fly-by-night contractors to the area. Often these contractors solicit work door-to-door, have no license or contact information and require high upfront fees before beginning. BBB recommends researching the company before agreeing to have any work done.
· Plan ahead and be prepared. Spring is generally the time we see more severe weather. If your trees need trimming or that hole in your roof needs repairing, don’t wait for another big storm to blow through, get it done now to avoid problems later.
To check the reliability of a company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org.
About Better Business Bureau:
BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust. BBB accomplishes this mission by creating a community of trustworthy businesses, setting standards for marketplace trust, encouraging and supporting best practices, celebrating marketplace role models and denouncing substandard marketplace behavior.
Businesses that earn BBB Accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's high standards of ethical business behavior. BBB is the preeminent resource to turn to for objective, unbiased information on businesses and charities.Contact BBB serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin at (512) 445-4748.