Hurricanes bring out the Scammers – Be Prepared

Hurricane season means being prepared for a disaster and that includes NOT being scammed when dealing with home repair issues.  Before doing business with anyone you should always check with the BBB first.  Make sure they do not have a history of unresolved complaints and check their rating by calling 713-868-9500 or going online at www.bbbhouston.org.

Other important points to remember include:

1)      Always get more than one estimate, three are best.   Getting three estimates is more than getting three prices, it is evaluating the companies approach to the job and how they interact  with you…more like an interview than a commitment.

2)      Do not sign any papers without completely understanding the entire document.  Don’t let people talk you into signing anything you do not fully agree with, no matter what they say.  Once you sign the dotted line, you have agreed to everything in the contract.

3)      Make sure you both agree on how the job will be paid.  Maybe you pay the full amount at the END or you pay as the job goes along, but you DO NOT make a final payment until the job is completed to your satisfaction.  Do not be bullied into paying when you are not happy.  And never fall for the trap of paying because the company needs to buy supplies.  Most likely, they will take your money and disappear.

4)      Work with your insurance adjuster independently.  Some contractors and roofing companies try to convince you that they can save you time and trouble by working directly with your insurance company.   The trouble is you may be letting them rip off your insurance company which comes back to hurt you in the long run.  Some companies will increase the supposed damage in order to get more from the insurance company, when the actual repairs would be less. 

5)      Disasters bring out the storm chasers, both good and bad.  Be smart, stick to a plan on how to deal with contractors, and always check with the BBB first or contact me at 713-341-6184 or bmcginity@bbbhou.org.

Barbara Parrott McGinity, LMSW

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