Homeowners across the country are being warned to stay on the lookout for fraudulent repair services and to do plenty of research before working with any home repair company. Unfortunately, “storm chasing” remains a popular home improvement scam after a region suffers particularly intense weather.
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has recommended that homeowners improve their online research habits when searching for residential repair services, especially following weather disasters that result in severe property damage. During these traumatic times, homeowners often reach out for help as quickly as possible, looking over potential red flags in the process, in order to repair their homes.
Over the past five years, the Locksmiths industry has seen a 1.2% increase in the number of employees. Unfortunately, there are plenty of criminals out there that will pose as locksmith professionals and contractors, hoping to take advantage of these struggling homeowners by offering fraudulent repair services. In fact, some storm chasers even go door-to-door, specifically targeting seniors with damaged homes.
Areas like East Texas, for example, which suffered from a multitude of tornadoes earlier this month, is a prime location for these scam artists. These faux repair companies pose as legitimate companies online and offer fair prices for home repairs. After demanding money up front, these con men walk away with the money without ever performing a second’s worth of actual repair work.
“There have been more than 300 home improvement scams reported to BBB’s Scam Tracker nationwide in the past year,” said Emily Valla of the Northwest BBB. “Roofing contractors, plumbers, auto repair, and insurance companies all make the list of top-10 most injured about businesses at BBB serving the Northwest.”
Per the BBB’s recommendation, homeowners should always find a reputable company or contractor. Furthermore, homeowners should be highly suspicious of contractors who demand cash payment in advance.
“Find out how long a company has been in business and how people rate and review them,” added Valla. “If they have complaints with the BBB, how did the company respond? Taking the time to resolve a situation is most important. Whenever possible, get references. Find out if others had a good experience and if they ended up having to pay more than they bargained for.”
In addition to working with credible organizations, KDVR states that having a quality insurance policy and strong warranty can help provide you with peace of mind.
A legitimate national warranty organization, for example, will provide quality coverage and protection for up to a decade on qualified structural defects, and a credible insurance agency can help fund catastrophic damage from inclement weather.
And if a door-to-door “contractor” shows up at the front door after an intense storm, remember that some deals really are too good to be true.