Avoid Scammers After a Hurricane

Avoid Scammers During Catastrophe Season

Hurricanes can cause excessive damage and leave victims with hefty property repair bills. Hurricane Isaac was no exception; causing an estimated $1 billion dollars in damage to homes, businesses, and cars. Imagine the stress and turmoil placed on business owners, individuals and families.

When returning home to determine how much damage has been done, those affected are understandably anxious to obtain repair assessments and to get their claims processed immediately. However, in their haste these victims may be at risk for falling prey to one of the not-so-reputable repair companies out there.

We came up with a few tips to help hurricane victims determine if their repair company of choice is trustworthy:

Asking for 100% payment upfront.
If the representative asks for full payment upfront: politely decline. Companies might ask for a down payment (ranging from 20 – 30%), in which case use a credit card or write a check, but do not pay in cash.

References.
A legitimate business should be able to offer several contactable references. Don’t merely accept ‘all of your neighbors have used us,’ If you are told this, be sure to verify the information is true.

Get a written estimate.
Obtain an estimate and/or contract in writing. If any amendments need to be made, those should be in writing too. Have a friend, family member, or lawyer take a look at the contract.

Ask to see proof of insurance.
Most states require contractors to carry general liability and workers’ compensation insurance, so they should be able to provide proof when asked.

Referrals.
Ask friends or neighbors if they have used a particular company before. A referral is a great way to get quality work done for a fair price.

Background check.
Look up the business via the Better Business Bureau. BBB.org is a great resource for reviews, details and contact information for any type of business, even if they are not accredited.

After a hurricane, tornado, or flood, it is natural for victims to want to put their lives put back on track as soon as possible. We just advise to use caution when doing so. The above tips and a little patience might help prevent further stress and costly mistakes.

What tips can you offer to those affected by a hurricane or other disaster? 

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