Michigan is cleaning up today from the impact of the incredible winds that affected our area on Wednesday, leaving behind everything from damaged roofs and siding, to downed trees. This is the time to look out for "storm chasers".
These scam artists present themselves as contractors able to fix a homeowner's problems. They go town-to-town, door-to door, taking money for work, underperforming or not performing at all, and then they move on to the next town, often times before the homeowners know they've been ripped-off.
Home and building owners will act quickly to clean up damage, but hastily hiring untrustworthy help can lead to even bigger problems.
Consider these BBB tips before hiring help to repair wind storm damage:
Get at least 3-4 quotes from contractors, and insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual. Use BBB.org's FREE Request a Quote service to find and hire reputable contractors in your immediate area.
Ask for references, along with proof of the contractor's licensing and insurance.
Do not pay for the job in advance, and be wary of any contractor who demands full payment up front. Typically, a down payment of one-third the total contract price is made with additional payments due after completion of each phase of work. Pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there's a problem. Otherwise, pay by check, and never pay in cash.
Resist high-pressure sales tactics such as the "good deal" you'll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.
Get a written contract that specifies the price and the work to be done and a time frame. Be sure that all promises made are put in writing.
Prices are often highest in the immediate aftermath of a storm. Buy only the services that are necessary to make your home safe and habitable. And if you can wait, contractor rates will likely drop a few days after the storm.
Encounter a scam? Report it via BBB's Scam Tracker.
Need to check a business' credibility? Check BBB's Business Directory.
Check out WoodTV's coverage of this local story.