House Flooded? Follow these BBB Tips.

  
     
Better Business Bureau serving West Florida warns consumers to research carefully when choosing a professional to clean up mold. If you need to hire a home repair professional after the record-breaking rainfall this past weekend, we urge you to follow these tips.
September 01, 2017

Following the storms in Southwest Florida, many are dealing with extensive flood damage.  Now people may be dealing with the after effects of mold damage. Florida’s humid climate and continuous rain makes us susceptible to mold in general.  According to the Environment Protection Agency (EPA), molds are a natural part of the environment. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, excessive mold growth will often occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains undiscovered or unaddressed.

How can you tell if you have mold in your home? The EPA states that if your home smells moldy, but you cannot see the source, if water stains are present, or if you know there has been water damage, there could be mold present in your home. Mold may be hidden in places such as the backside of drywall, wallpaper or paneling, the top side of ceiling tiles, and the underside of carpets and pads, etc. Other possible locations of hidden mold include areas inside walls around pipes (with leaking or condensing pipes), the surface of walls behind furniture (where condensation forms), inside ductwork, and in roof materials above ceiling tiles (due to roof leaks or insufficient insulation).

Investigating hidden mold problems may be difficult and will require caution when the investigation involves disturbing potential sites of mold growth. When contemplating the cleanup of mold, you need to verify the extent of the problem and likely will need to contact an expert.

Better Business Bureau serving West Florida warns consumers to research carefully when choosing a professional to clean up mold. If you need to hire a home repair professional after the record-breaking rainfall this past weekend, we urge you to follow these tips:

  • Work with your insurance company. An insurance agent may be able to recommend a reliable and reputable remediation company, and you should contact them first to determine what your insurance policy covers and the process for filing a claim.

  • Check the company's history with the Better Business Bureau. You can review the company's complaint history and details to determine if they have a track record of responding to and resolving BBB complaints at www.bbb.org

  • Verify the company's license. In Florida, mold assessors and remediators must hold an active license with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations.  You may view the status at www.myfloridalicense.com  or call 1-850-487-1395. The license information also should tell you how long the contractor has been licensed to perform work.

  • Make sure the business has extensive experience in cleaning up mold. Ask for references from the business and contact these references for more information. Also, ask family and friends if they have worked with a mold remediation expert in the past and had a favorable experience.

  • Obtain at least three bids. Don't simply hire the first business that contacts you or one that offers the lowest bid; evaluate the services and offerings of at least three businesses and then make your decision.

  • Understand Assignment of Benefits contracts.  Beware of contractors who claim to be insurance claim specialists and may ask you to sign an agreement to allow them to contact your insurance company and seek approval of repairs for you. Many unscrupulous businesses have tricked consumers into signing a work estimate without reading the fine print, which commits you to automatically contract with their business if your insurance claim is approved.  Click here for more information from Florida Department of Financial Services.

Your Better Business Bureau provides a one stop resource page to help Florida’s Consumers, Business and NonProfits prepare for Hurricane season which runs June 1st – Nov 30th.  Within BBB’s Florida Hurricane Guide, you will find tips on Disaster Preparedness, Recovery and Repair, How to Avoid Storm Chaser Scams, additional Government Resources and tips on Giving Wisely to Disaster Relief Charities at  www.bbb.org/florida-hurricane-guide/

As part of an effort to educate all Floridians on the importance of hiring a licensed professional, BBB and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) are reminding Floridians to thoroughly research professionals and businesses prior to hiring and to report suspected unlicensed individuals. Unlicensed activity is against the law - BBB and DBPR take unlicensed activity very seriously because it threatens the safety of Florida’s consumers as well as takes away business from licensed professionals throughout the state. 

For more information on how to find properly licensed professionals, including an easy to use checklist, visit www.bbb.org/florida-licensing-resource-page/

BBB Serving West Florida continues to work with local businesses and consumers to shed the light on schemes and fraud, while encouraging consumers to find reputable companies they can trust by looking for the BBB Accredited Business Seal.  BBB Scam Tracker is another way your BBB can help promote a more ethical marketplace.

Read more about BBB Scam Tracker here.
Report a Scam here.