It has become tradition that when an area is hit by storms, out-of-town companies enter the local marketplace to offer their home repair, dent removal or tree trimming services. These companies have earned the nickname “storm chasers.” During times when consumers or businesses are in quick need of a repair company, many of the companies soliciting their business don’t take the time to secure proper licensing in the area where they are working and may even make false claims of being a BBB Accredited Business or BBB Member.
While home and business owners are understandably anxious to get damage from tornadoes or strong storms repaired, it is worth taking a few minutes to verify a company’s licensing status with your local license authority, and to review the company’s BBB Business Review. BBB Accredited Businesses have earned that distinction by showing that they adhere to the BBB Standards of Trust. It is extremely concerning when a company, especially one that does not meet those standards, would boldly promote themselves as being BBB Accredited when they in fact are not.
Consumers and businesses hiring a “storm chaser” to do their repairs face the risk of being unable to locate the business later, should there be any problems with the workmanship, despite having written warranties.
The BBB offers the following tips for hiring roofing and storm related repair companies:
• Gather the company’s complete contact information and consider it a red flag if they won’t provide it. Also confirm the address...since bogus addresses have been used in the past.
• A list of BBB Accredited Roofers appears by this article, and you can visit the BBB at www.bbb.org to get an up-to-date list or to check out any companies you are considering doing business with. You can also call the BBB at (256) 533-1640 or (800) 239-1642.
• Verify that the company has secured proper licensing with your local city or county business license department.
• Once you choose a company, make sure that you have a written contract that clearly states the work that will be done, the quality or grade of materials that will be used, and an estimated completion date. Verify whether or not the company will also provide cleanup after they have completed their work. Don’t assume this is included in the price.
• Use extreme caution when approached by door-to-door company representatives soliciting work, especially those that ask for advance cash payments for products and services.
• Don’t pay the full amount of the job upfront. Many reputable companies do not require any advance payment or no more than 1/3 of the job in advance. If your insurance company is covering the damage, be wary of a company who requires a 50% deposit or the entire insurance check prior to scheduling the work. Verify with your insurance company that they have approved of all agreed upon repairs and verify their process for providing final payment.
• Make sure you fully read any document where a company is asking you to sign and provide permission for them to contact your insurance company on your behalf. Many of these agreements have a clause to let that company automatically be the one to do repairs if your insurance company approves a claim.