BBB Advice on Home Repairs after Storm Damage

October 31, 2012

Better Business Bureau is cautioning residents to anticipate a spike in door-to-door contractors after severe storms. BBB frequently receives a high-volume of reports of post storm rip-offs that come and go following violent weather. Better Business Bureau is warning local residents affected by 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 Jan Delaney, President of the BBB of Western Ontario. “Storm chasers may not have the proper experience and may offer quick fixes and big promises to which they won’t deliver.”

BBB offers the following tips for storm victims:

· Beware of large deposits. The BBB recommends paying no more than 10 percent of the total cost as a deposit. Before making your last payment, live with the improvement for a few days, and make sure you are satisfied with the work. The Construction Lien Act allows you to retain 10 per cent of the contract price for 45 days after the work is complete.

· Certain renovations and repairs may require a building permit. Be sure to check with your city or town hall before signing the contract. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to get the building permit. If the contractor is to get the permit, make sure this is stated in the contract and don’t allow construction to begin until you’ve verified the permit.

· 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.

· Try to get at least 3-4 quotes from contractors, and insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual.

· 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 business name, physical address, phone number, price, the work to be done, the amount of insurance coverage maintained by the contractor, and a time frame.

·Check warranties and guarantees carefully. The contractor’s reputation and length of time in business are important. A "10-year" guarantee is worthless if the contractor goes out of business next month.

Homeowner’s should never feel forced to make a hasty decision or to choose an unknown contractor. For reliable information, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry and BBB Business Reviews you can trust on local businesses, visit