Better Business Bureau Advisory: Storm Chasers

July 12, 2017


Thomas Johnson,                                                                
Director of Public and Board Relations,
BBB Serving Chicago & Northern Illinois, 312-245-2643                       

Judith Ruiz-Branch
PR & Community Outreach Coordinator
BBB Serving Chicago & Northern Illinois, 312-245-2516

Better Business Bureau Advisory: Storm Chasers

Chicago, IL – July 12, 2017 – With rolling storms and severe weather hitting the Chicago six- county area, homes and properties have suffered damaged by wind, storm debris, and especially heavy rains and high waters.

Many areas are facing a series of flash flooding warnings and emergencies, with multiple reports of damage and trees down.

Scam artists and shoddy contractors are often quick to take advantage of people when natural disasters and heavy storms occur. Types of “storm chasing” businesses may include roofing contractors, water removal, landscapers, siding contractors, tree service companies, and window contractors.

When seeking assistance to fix problems, Better Business Bureau (BBB) advises consumers to use caution in selecting contractors.

“Scam artists often try to make money from the misfortunes of other people” says Steve Bernas, president and CEO of Chicago and Northern Illinois Better Business Bureau. “If anyone comes to your door offering to begin work on damage, take their information and tell them that you will follow up if you are interested in using them for repairs.”

Bernas adds, "Everybody wants to get their property fixed and back to normal as quickly as possible. But emotions can over rule good judgement during stressful times. We urge consumers to make careful decisions and find the best crews to do good work at a fair price."  

If your property has been damaged by any of the recent weather, BBB offers these tips before choosing a contractor:

  • Do not hire people who show up at your door offering services such as tree or debris removal, roof or water damage repair, etc.
  • Check out the company first with BBB at and deal only with reputable local contractors with top business ratings.
  • Always get a written contract (Never sign a blank or partially blank contract) that specifies the price and services provided, guarantee, and a time frame for repair.
  • When approached by a contractor, ask for proof of licensing and bonding.
  • Try to get multiple 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 payment up front.
  • Resist high-pressure sales tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.
  • In Illinois state law requires a written contract with all costs enumerated for home repair or remodeling work over $1,000.
  • Prices are often high in the immediate aftermath of a storm. Buy only the services that are necessary to make your home safe and habitable. Wait at least a few days to hire other contractors because the rates are likely to drop.
  • Pay by credit card, if possible; for your additional protection if there’s a problem. Otherwise, pay by check. Never pay in cash.
  • Check that the contractor’s vehicle has signs or markings on it with the business name and phone number.

For more information on what to do following natural disasters and tips on avoiding storm chasers at


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ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2016, people turned to BBB more than 167 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, as well as home to its national and international programs on dispute resolution, advertising review, and industry self-regulation. BBB Serving Chicago and Northern Illinois serves 19 counties in Illinois.