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Beware Contractor Scams After Damaging Storms

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FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - The violent storms that rocked North Texas on Tuesday afternoon left a massive trail of damage across the Metroplex. Many area residents will be requiring assistance and services from contractors or construction workers in order to repair their homes or vehicles and bring their daily lives back to normal.

But what happens when those you think are helping you are actually trying to scam you?

“Serious damage from a storm can leave consumers desperate for a quick fix,” said John Riggins, CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Fort Worth and Tarrant County, in an emailed statement. “But we’ve seen all too many times that this desperation lends itself to unscrupulous individuals or companies that prey on a consumer’s need for instant gratification.”

The BBB offers the following advice for consumers during post-storm times.

HOME:

  • Check with your insurance company first to determine coverage and specific filing requirements; keep contact information handy.
  • Be leery of door-to-door workers, whether offering home repairs, inspections, heating and cooling services or speedy insurance processing.
  • Shop around for local contractors. You may need to make temporary repairs, but major permanent repairs should be the result of multiple bids and thorough research.
  • Require written bids that clearly identify the materials and all labor charges, as well as the beginning and end of work.
  • Do not pay 100 percent in advance for the work, nor in cash.
  • Ask for references from local customers.
  • Check out their business review with the BBB.
  • Require copies of all licenses, permits and liability insurance.
  • When work is complete, be sure to get a notarized statement that all sub-contractors have been paid in full to avoid a contractors lien on your property.

VEHICLE:

  • Similar to home repairs, shop around for a quality vehicle repair service.
  • Require written bids that clearly identify the materials and all labor charges, as well as the beginning and end of work.
  • Do not pay 100 percent in advance for the work, nor in cash.
  • Ask for references from local customers.
  • Check out their business review with the BBB.

And as always, any consumers who find themselves victimized by the poor workmanship of a scammer should file a complaint with the BBB, so that others can be aware of such issues. You can reach the BBB of Fort Worth and Tarrant County by calling 817-332-7585 or visiting fwbbb.org.

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