February 22, 2018 – With the recent governor’s declaration of a state of emergency in all 55 counties of West Virginia, BBB warns consumers to be cautious when hiring others to assist with repair and cleanup from flooding. “Trying times often bring out the best in our neighbors,” said Frank Cilona, President of the Better Business Bureau, “but unfortunately, the aftermath of devastation also brings out contractors who take advantage of those who have already been victimized.” Unlicensed persons often canvas neighborhoods after a flooding offering to repair damaged property with deals that seem too good to be true. They may use high pressure, like “This deal is good today only” or scare tactics, such as “It needs to be done right away because it is dangerous”. All too often, the money is paid without the work being completed.Your BBB reminds consumers to take their time, research their options and be very careful before hiring an unfamiliar contractor. Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you.Your BBB offers the following tips before hiring any contractor:Research the business. The BBB offers BBB business profiles that can help you find a trustworthy contactor or to research the ones recommended by friends. To find reputable companies or contractors and lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by industry, visit bbb.org or call 1-800-362-0494. BBB Accredited businesses have a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve consumer complaints.Hire only licensed and insured contractors. Verify the contractor has a valid license by contacting the WV Contractor Licensing Board at labor.wv.gov or 304-558-7890. Ask for copies of current insurance certificates. Do they carry personal liability, worker’s compensation and property damage insurance? Get multiple bids and seek referrals. Ask at least three companies for bids based on the same requirements. Discuss the bids in detail. The lowest-priced bid may not be the best. To check work history, ask for a list of references to determine if the contractor is familiar with your type of project. A contractor should be able to give you names and phone numbers of at least three clients with projects like yours. Ask each client how long ago the project was and whether it was completed on time. Get a written contract and read it. Make sure any verbal promises are included, as well as, the agreed upon price, specific work to be done and the start date and expected completion date. Obtain a signed copy of the final contract before work is started. Never pay the full amount up front. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront. Some contractors may require a down payment to cover materials, but the bulk of the money should not be due until the work is complete and you are satisfied. Pay by credit card, if possible, never with cash. When paying by check, insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual. ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2015, people turned to BBB more than 172 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 5.3 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Canton Region/Greater West Virginia, which was founded in 1961 and serves 12 counties in Ohio and 52 counties in West Virginia.