BBB warns: Watch out for ‘storm chasers’
Storms — like the one that tore through Rowan County on Thursday — are continuing to cause problems in the Southern Piedmont area. If you have storm damage, the Better Business Bureau warns you to watch out for “storm chasers.”
“One of the worst mistakes is to hire a storm chaser, a contractor who is working out of his pickup truck, and going door-to-door soliciting business in storm-damaged areas,” said Tom Bartholomy, president of Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont.
“With last night’s storm including hail, roofing companies will be aggressively marketing roof inspections for hail damage,” Bartholomy said. “If you think you have hail damage, go to www.bbb.org, search for “roofing,” find a local company, and call them yourself.”
“There are hundreds of local contractors in the Southern Piedmont area who specialize in roof repairs, water damage, and tree removal that will deliver quality work, on time and within budget,” Bartholomy added.
The Better Business Bureau offers these tips for hiring a roofing company, repair contractor or tree removal service:
• Track record — Check out a company’s Better Business Bureau rating and complaint history at www.bbb.org. There’s no charge. You can also call the bureau at 704-927-8611 or 1-877-317-7236, toll-free in N.C. and S.C. Customer service operators are available Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (excluding 12-1 p.m. for lunch).
• Cost comparisons — Get at least three bids in writing and be sure you compare the bids based on the same warranty, specifications, labor and time.
• Licensing — Check to see if the company you plan to hire has the proper licensing. For the N.C. General Contractors Licensing Board, go to www.nclbgc.org and click on Licensee Search. For the S.C. Contractors Licensing Board, go to www.llr.state.sc.us/POL/Contractors and click on Licensee Lookup.
• Insurance — Verify the company’s liability insurance to protect you against damage. You can also check with the department of insurance in your state. Call the N.C. Dept. of Insurance toll free at 1-800-546-5664, and the S.C. Dept. of Insurance at 803-737-6180 or toll free at 1-800-768-3467.
• References — Ask for references from the company’s last three jobs and check them out before you sign a contract.
• Written contract — Do not permit work to start without a signed, written contract that includes start and completion dates, exact costs, specific work to be done, and warranty information. Be sure to read the fine print carefully.
• Deposit required and payment — Do not pay more than 25 to 33 percent of the total job cost as a deposit. Final payment should not be due until the job is completed. Do not pay in cash; pay by check or credit card.
• Warranty — Get warranty information in writing on products and installation. Be sure to read the fine print carefully.
• Bonding — Be sure all workers are bonded to protect you against theft or additional damage.
• Criminal history — Check out anyone you allow into your home to see if they have a criminal history.