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BBB: Choose repair contractors carefully

In the wake of natural disasters, the Better Business Bureau sees a significant increase in the number of inquiries on general contractors in the area, often doubling what is typical.

Unfortunately, consumers may be so overwhelmed by the damage that they end up paying for something that makes the situation worse.

“People need professionals to help with cleanup and repairs,” says Tom Bartholomy, president of Better Business Bureau in Charlotte, “but it is so important to do your due diligence before you write that check.”

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.

BBB has these specific tips for victims of natural disasters:

Do your research. Find businesses you can trust at www.bbb.org. BBB has business profiles on over 500 contractors in the area and you can read reviews or customer complaints. Check with the NC Licensing Board and get references from friends and relatives. Often times, a simple Google search of the contractor’s name will quickly reveal a bad reputation if there is one. And make sure that whoever you hire is properly licensed to do the kind of work you need them to do.

 

Contact your insurance company. Ask about your policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Your insurance company may also have recommended contractors, but beware of any contractor that comes to you and claims to have been sent by your insurance company.


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 proactive in selecting a contractor and not reactive to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches. Consumers should never feel forced to make a hasty decision.

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 local license plates.

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