As the flood water recedes in the local area, BBB serving Louisville, Southern Indiana, and Western KY is warning flood victims who are seeking flood damage repairs to beware of scammers.
After going through a flood, people you do not know may knock on your door, offering discounted flood repair services. Some of these individuals may not be legitimate. Scammers travel to disaster areas to take advantage of those who want life to go back to “normal.” Some may claim your insurance agent or FEMA sent them to your home or business.
Before hiring a flood restoration specialist, do the following to avoid falling victim to a scam:
- Talk to your insurance agent (or FEMA) to find out about specific coverage and filing requirements. Victims should save all receipts, including those for food and temporary lodging.
- Check with the BBB to learn about flood restoration specialists that have received good reviews.
- Get at least three written estimates for repair work.
- Get all contractor estimates in writing.
- Require the company to give you all guarantees in writing and a contract before the work begins. The contract should detail all of the work to be completed, the costs, a pay schedule, a projected completion date, and how to negotiate changes and settle disputes. Make sure the contract states who will obtain the proper permits.
- Ask the contractor for proof of general liability insurance and call the insurance company listed on the documents provided to make sure the contractor has an active policy.
- Avoid contractors who come to you unsolicited and try to pressure you into hiring their services, require a full payment upfront, or require you to obtain permits to complete work.
- Only issue the final payment for flood restoration work after a contractor finishes the job.
- Never pay with cash; Use a credit card or check.
Also, beware of anyone who comes knocking at your door, saying they are with Government workers with FEMA and that you are eligible for disaster grants or money. There is not a fee to apply for FEMA disaster assistance. Government workers will never ask for a fee or payment, and they wear an official government photo ID.
For more tips, go to bbb.org or call 1-800-388-2222.