BBB warns consumers of "storm chaser" contractor scams

With hundreds of people dealing with the effects of the recent flooding after Monday's storms, the Better Business Bureau warns consumers not to fall for scam contractors.
August 14, 2014

These "storm chasers" come door to door to offer services to fix damages caused after an area is hit by severe weather, according to the BBB. They will then ask for an upfront payment and often complete jobs poorly or skip town before doing them at all.

The BBB offers these tips to avoid getting scammed by "storm chaser" contractors:


  • Get three to four quotes: The storm chasers will try to pressure you into making a decision immediately. Don't fall for it. Just as you would for a standard home improvement project, get at least three quotes before making a decision. 
  • Check references: Get references from several past customers. Make sure these are at least a year old, so you can check on the quality of the work.
  • Check BBB Business Reviews are more than just a grade. You can also read past complaints from customers, find out about licensing and government actions and more. 
  •  Make sure it's legal: Confirm that any business being considered for hire is licensed and registered to do work in your area. Also, if in doubt, request proof of a current insurance certificate from a contractor's insurance company.
  • Get it in writing: And always be sure to get a written contract with the price, materials and timeline. The more detail, the better.
  • Watch out for contractors who only accept cash.
  • Never pay full price up front. Make sure some of the money is due upon completion, so you maintain some leverage in case problems come up during the project. Many contractors do require a third, or even half, of the estimate as down payment. Make sure you get a receipt and the contract spells out the amount you've already paid.