BBB offers tips for those with storm damage

ssloan@herald-leader.comMarch 3, 2012 

With severe weather plaguing Kentucky this week, the Better Business Bureau of Central and Eastern Kentucky is warning residents to be cautious about hiring contractors for home repairs.

"Events like this often attract traveling workers offering their services, commonly known as 'storm chasers,'" BBB spokeswoman Heather Clary said in a statement. "Not all of these companies are reputable, ... so we urge caution."

Such storm chasers typically drive vehicles with out-of-state license plates and sometimes post advertisements throughout an area to drum up business.

"While some of these contractors may offer a low price and fast repairs, some may not stand behind their work," Clary said. "And if they are from out of state, who will service the warranty if problems arise later? Consumers should ask questions."

The BBB offered this set of tips for hiring a company to fix storm damage to your property:

■ Get the company's name, address and phone number. Be skeptical of any vague or hesitant answers or no offers of contracts, brochures or anything in writing. Beware of being pressured. A reputable company will let you check them out first.

■ To check out local and out-of-state businesses with the Better Business Bureau, go to Bbb.org or Bluegrass.bbb.org, or call the BBB at 1-800-866-6668.

■ Verify that the company has liability and worker's-compensation insurance. Beware if a contractor cannot provide proof.

■ If it's an out-of-town company, ask how any warranty issues or problems will be addressed long after the work is done and the company is gone.

■ If you have damage to your home, check with your homeowners'-insurance agent and have an adjuster sent to determine whether and how much the insurer will cover.

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz.

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