Contracting scams possible after storms - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Contracting scams possible after storms

(Source: Judy Fox) (Source: Judy Fox)

April storms could mean the need for May contractors.

The Heartland has seen its share of hail, strong winds and flood damage lately, meaning homeowners could be looking for someone to fix any damage.

This time of year the Better Business Bureau typically gets complaints about storm chasers, who follow the damage.

These phony contractors say they can quickly replace missing shingles or install new glass into broken windows.

The problem, though, these fake contractors tend to make promises, take your money but never finish the job.

"If you have some hail damage you want your roof fixed quickly before you have any other problems arise from it," Joey Keys with the BBB said. "They may get you when you're at a vulnerable time."

Last year alone the BBB took more than 2,000 complaints from homeowners about contractors in eastern Missouri and southern Illinois.

Keys said it is one of the industries that gets the most complaints, from quality to even failure to complete work.

"We may see a complaint where a consumer pays all the money upfront, the job gets half way done and then you don't see the contractor again," Keys said.

There are some simple steps to avoid being scammed.

  • Homeowners should ask for at least three bids from different contractors to asses price variations. The BBB says the lowest price might not mean the best quality.
  • Avoid paying for a job in full up front. Homeowners typically should wait to pay the entire amount until all the work is completed and they are satisfied.
  • Ask if the contractor has insurance. They should have proof of worker's compensation, property damage and liability insurance.
  • Get everything in writing. A written contract should include the start date and expected completion date.
Keys said by simply checking the contractor's reputation could save a homeowner a lot of hassle down the road.

"It's a large purchase and you want to do your homework and make sure you're dealing with someone that can get the job done," Keys said.

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