BBB Advice: Check Contractors Out Carefully When Seeking Repairs After Tornado, Hail Damage

  
     
March 01, 2017


StormSt. Louis, Mo., Mar. 1, 2017
– Last night, inclement weather swept through the region, bringing hail storms and a deadly tornado that struck the town of Perryville, Mo. In the wake of the severe damage done to vehicles, homes and other property, Better Business Bureau (BBB) warns consumers to be on the lookout for unlicensed or storm-chasing contractors seeking to cash in on the destruction.

Fly-by-night contractors often go door-to-door after storms, offering to help victims clear debris or patch up homes.

After previous storms, BBB has taken complaints about contractors who took deposits from consumers and did little or no work. Some couldn’t be reached when consumers wanted refunds or were dissatisfied with the repairs.

Michelle Corey, BBB President and CEO, advises consumers to check businesses out with BBB before writing a check. BBB Business Profiles give consumers vital information about how companies operate, including letter-grade ratings, and whether they resolve customer complaints.

 “Homeowners need to be sure that a contractor will honor promises and not just take their money and run,” Corey said. “Consumers need to make sure that the contractors are qualified and reliable before they sign a contract or pay any money.”

 Storm HailBBB tips for consumers and businesses looking for contractors to make repairs:

  • Be cautious of door-to-door salespeople who use high-pressure sales tactics.
  • Check with your insurance carrier before making major repairs. An adjuster may need to assess the damage, and the carrier may have recommendations for repairs or contractors.
  • Seek at least three bids from prospective contractors based on the same specifications, materials and labor needed to complete the project.
  • Ask whether the company is insured against claims covering workers’ compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents. Consumers should obtain the name of the insurance carrier and call to verify coverage.
  • Ask whether the contractor meets licensing and bonding requirements set by the state, county or city.
  • Find out whether permits are needed before proceeding with the work. The contractor also should be aware of any required permits.
  • Ask whether the contractor will provide a lien waiver upon completion of the job. A lien waiver is a statement by the contractor that all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work.
  • Read and understand the contract before signing. Get any verbal promises in writing. Include start and completion dates in the contract.
  • Remember the rule of thirds. Pay one third at the start of the project, one third when work is 50 percent completed and one third after completion.

 

A BBB video on hiring contractors is available at here. For more information to help you make smart, informed decisions about projects around your home, check with BBB by going online to www.bbb.org or by calling 314-645-3300.

St. Louis Area Media Contacts: Chris Thetford, Vice President-Communications, (314) 584-6743 or (314) 681-4719 (cell), cthetford@stlouisbbb.org

Shellie Kreter, PR & Communications Manager, (314) 584-6723 or (314) 348-5451 (cell), skreter@stlouisbbb.org

Columbia media contact: Sean Spence, Columbia Regional Director, (573) 886-8965, sspence@columbiabbb.org

Cape Girardeau media contact: Joey Keys, Cape Girardeau Regional Director, (573) 803-3191, jkeys@capegirardeaubbb.org

Quincy media contact: Mara Clingingsmith, BBB Quincy Regional Director, (217) 209-3972 or (217) 242-6272 (cell), mclingingsmith@quincybbb.org

About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. Most BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, free BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.