BBB warns of contractor fraud - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

BBB warns of "storm chasing" contractor fraud

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CHATTANOOGA (WRCB)-  From the Better Business Bureau: If your home received damage when storms hit the Chattanooga area early this week; finding contractors for repairs you can trust is not always easy. Be aware that out of town storm chasers and other door-to-door salesmen often peddle dubious deals that can cost homeowners thousands of dollars and create serious headaches. The Better Business Bureau recommends doing your research to avoid getting ripped off by an untrustworthy contractor.

Wind damage from these violent storms has taken a toll on homes across Hamilton Country and the surrounding area this week. The cost of repairs can be in tens of thousands of dollars. When you are spending that kind of money, it's worth it to take your time and find contractors you can trust.

When looking for contractors you can trust, BBB recommends that homeowners:


1) Start Your Search with BBB. The local BBB web site, has Reliability Reports on hundreds of contractors—good and bad—in this service area. Be aware that BBB Accredited contractors have pledged to uphold BBB's Standards for Trust and are contractually obligated to resolve all complaints filed with the BBB.


2) Vet the Contractor Carefully. Verify the business meets all state and local requirements including being licensed, insured and bonded. Also ask the business for references from recent jobs.  Confirm whether or not the contractor will be subcontracting the job or relying on his or her own employees.


3) Beware of Storm Chasers. In the wake of a storm, fly-by-night repair businesses will solicit work, often door to door, in unmarked trucks. They might require advance payment and make big promises that they will not deliver on.


4) Get at least three bids. Beware of lowball estimates that may potentially balloon over time or foreshadow shoddy work to come.


5) Recognize the red flags. Beware of any contractor that uses high pressure sales tactics or requires full payment upfront.  BBB advises that one third advance payment for materials is standard operating practice. Also avoid contractors that require you to get the necessary permits. 


6) Make sure everything is in writing. Make sure that the full scope of the work is explained in the contract including cleanup and disposal of waste. All verbal agreements need to be included in the written agreement. Pay close attention to the payment terms, estimated price of materials and labor and any warranties or guarantees.


For more advice on hiring professionals you can trust, visit us online at You may also received BBB reports on businesses at 423-266-6144. The business telephone number is required to access this report.



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