Nashville, TN — In the wake of recent storms and tornadoes which affected residents throughout our service area, Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky reminds homeowners to be on the lookout for storm chasers, individuals who follow severe weather hoping to get business from storm victims whose homes have been damaged. Although not all storm chasers are scammers, they may lack the proper licensing for your area, offer quick fixes, or make big promises they can’t deliver.
It’s common for out-of-town storm chasers to solicit business from people whose homes have been damaged by storms like the ones we witnessed this week across our area,” said Robyn Householder, President/CEO, BBB serving Middle TN and Southern KY. “Be sure to do your research before hiring someone you don’t know. Storm chasers may not have proper licensure for your area and may offer quick fixes or make big promises to which they won’t deliver.”
BBB also has these specific tips for victims of natural disasters:
Be especially careful of door-to-door contractors. Many municipalities require a solicitation permit if sales people go door-to-door. Ask for identification. Check their vehicle for a business name, phone number, and license plates for your state or province.
Be wary regarding places you can’t see. While most contractors abide by the law, be careful allowing someone you do not know to inspect your roof and other areas of your house. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work. The same goes for attics, crawl spaces, ducts, and other places you cannot easily access or see for yourself.
Resist high-pressure sales. Some storm chasers use tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot. Be pro-active in selecting a contractor and not re-active to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches. Disaster victims should never feel forced to make a hasty decision or to choose an unknown contractor.
Get a written contract. Make sure that it specifies the price, the work to be done, the amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor, and a time frame. Require a copy of their current certificate of insurance.
Contact your insurance company. Ask about your policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts, including those for food, temporary lodging, or other expenses that may be covered under your policy. Your insurance company may also have recommended contractors.
Do your research. Find businesses you can trust on BBB.org. The site has BBB Business Profiles on more than a million home contractors. Check your state or provincial government agency responsible for registering and/or licensing contractors. Get references from friends and relatives.
BBB is also warning contractors to beware of storm chasers who offer to pay local construction companies substantial amounts of money to use the business’s established name, reputation, and phone. They masquerade as a local business, collect the insurance money and then move on, leaving the real business to deal with unsatisfied customers due to bad workmanship, unfinished work, or unfulfilled warranties.