BBB Reminds Consumers: Don’t Fall For Storm Chasing Repair Crews
[March 3, 2017 – Nashville, TN] On March 1, 2017 the National Weather Service reported three tornados came through Middle Tennessee. These pop up damaging storms may result in traveling repair crews descending on residents offering emergency repair services. BBB reminds consumers and businesses to do their homework before hiring a contractor to assist with storm damage cleanup and repairs to avoid becoming the victim of a scam.
If you are one of the many affected, you may need major repairs as well as clean up from falling tree limbs, debris or other damage. You should be on the watch for traveling fly-by-night repair crews that focus on storm-damaged areas. These repair crews know demand for service will be high, and that local, well-established home repair and roofing companies will be working their crews around the clock. Many people don’t want to wait for estimates on repairs, so when there is a knock on the door from a home repair crew, good consumer business practices are all but forgotten.
Checking with BBB on the trustworthiness of any company can provide valuable information on the business’ marketplace performance including whether the company is an Accredited Business, how it handles customer complaints and what to do if you experience a problem.
BBB also offers very valuable services, at no cost, that will quickly put you in touch with businesses you can trust.
- Start your search With Trust by visiting our website at BBB.org/Nashville to search for BBB Accredited Businesses. These businesses support BBB’s 13 Standards for Trust and have made a commitment to Build Trust, Advertise Honestly, Tell the Truth, Be Transparent, Honor Promises to written agreements and verbal representations, Be Responsive to customer concerns, Safeguard Privacy, and Embody Integrity.
- Help others avoid being scammed - Report Storm Chasing Repair Crews by visiting our website at BBB Scam Tracker.
BBB offers the following advice on how to avoid becoming the victim of a fly-by-night repair crew:
- Be leery if a worker shows up on your doorstep to announce that your home is unsafe. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, have an engineer, architect or building official inspect it. While most roofing contractors abide by the law, be careful allowing someone you do not know to inspect your roof. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work.
- Require a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. Be sure their name, address, license number, if applicable, and phone number is included on the contract. Read and understand the contract in its entirety; don’t sign a blank contract! Request a copy of the signed contract to be given to you at time of signature.
- Never pay in full for all repairs in advance, and do not pay cash! While many companies may ask for a deposit, BBB suggests that no more than one-third of the job be paid up front. Be sure the contract specifies the schedule for releasing payments to the contractor.
- Pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there’s a problem.
- Clearly written proposals that are detailed and broken down into separate line items are a good sign that the contractor is being thorough and has prepared an accurate estimate. The following is a partial list of items your estimate or proposal should include:
- The type of roof covering, manufacturer and color;
- Scope of work to be done, including material and labor costs;
- Who is responsible for repairing/replacing exterior landscape or interior finishes that are damaged during the course of the work? Make sure that your contract contains language addressing who is responsible for any damage that occurs as a result of the work.
- Approximate starting and completion dates;
- Payment procedures;
- Length of warranty and what is covered, e.g., workmanship, water leakage, etc.;
- Who will haul away the old roofing materials and/or project waste (e.g. extra materials, packaging, etc.)? Is there extra charge for this service?
Start your search With Trust by visiting BBB.org/Nashville
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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 224 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 over 100 local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Middle TN and Southern KY, which was founded in 1961 and serves 38 counties in Middle TN and 7 in Southern KY.