BBB Advice for Dealing with Storm Damage
For the second time in a month, strong storms moved through the Memphis area last Saturday night. In what’s being reported as the third largest power outage in MLGW history, more than 188,000 people lost power due to large tree limbs and uprooted trees downing power lines. Those same trees and limbs wreaked havoc on homes, cars, fences and anything else that lay in their path as they toppled over.
BBB is once again reminding homeowners that recovering from damage caused by such a devastating storm could take some time. People should be wary of storm chasers and less-than-ethical contractors looking to take advantage of those who need help cleaning up and repairing storm damage. Folks who are anxious to get their homes and yards back to normal should be on the lookout for scams involving clean-up efforts, tree or limb removal, and fence, roof, and home repairs.
Storm chasers often prey on folks who suffered storm damage, going door-to-door offering a “great deal” on clean-up or repair work if the homeowner hires them on the spot. Distressed homeowners may jump at the chance to get someone started working on their damage right away. However, in many cases, once they finish the job, storm chasers demand more money than the homeowner agreed to, claiming more work was necessary. Some victims pay upfront for work to be done, only to have the shady contractors take their money and run.
Storm victims should be pro-active in selecting a contractor and not re-active to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches. Victims are urged to check out a company’s reputation at bbb.org before hiring them to do any work. BBB Business Profiles are available on smart phones and tablets, so people can check out a company while the representative is standing at their door.
“Exercise caution when dealing with door-to-door solicitors, who may not be licensed or insured, may not do a good job and may not be around later to complete or correct work that wasn’t properly done,” said Randy Hutchinson, BBB of the Mid-South president. “Look for local license plates and company signage on their vehicles,” Hutchinson added, “and get more information than just a cell phone number, which may be hard to trace if the contractors disappears.”
Those dealing with clean up and repair from this storm should heed these BBB tips: