Strong storms with potentially flooding downpours, tornadoes, powerful winds, and hail have been making their way across the state this storm season. They leave massive damage to homes and businesses in their wake, including downed trees and power lines, damage to roofs, homes, cars and fences.
“Home and business owners who suffer damage to their property should carefully research companies before making a final decision,” said Kitt Letcher, president and CEO of BBB. “With the diverse and severe weather that Oklahoma receives, storm related damage is increasingly common. The likelihood of scammers and unethical businesses taking advantage of consumers increases when severe weather comes through our state. Comparing companies and researching the market ensures that you will not become a victim.” Letcher summarized, “BBB receives multiple reports and complaints related to weather related scams or scam attempts each year.”
Generally, these complaints focused on repair scams and insurance issues. This is because significant damage as a result of high winds and fallen trees can often draw out-of-town contractors, otherwise known as storm chasers, who solicit their repair services door-to-door. Homeowners should exercise caution when dealing with door-to-door solicitors, who may not be licensed or insured,
While some businesses may be legitimate and reputable, many are not registered to do home improvement work in the state and have not obtained the required solicitation permits for the area. This might become a problem once homeowners realize repairs weren’t done properly as the business could be hard to contact or unwilling to redo the work.
Although everyone wants to repair their storm damage as quickly as possible, BBB urges homeowners to be patient throughout the process and take the time to check out a company before hiring them. One convenient way to research a business is to use your smart phone to see if they have a profile on bbb.org. This fast and free research tool will come in handy if a worker shows up unbidden at your door offering to start work.
BBB offers the following tips for consumers and businesses who have experienced storm damage:
Ultimately, the best way to ensure you are making a smart investment is to start with companies you can trust by going to bbb.org. To be certain that the workers are registered and licensed, use the BBB search engine to view a list of accredited businesses in your area. You can also use the website to report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices with the BBB ScamTracker at bbb.org/scamtracker.