Spring Storm: Avoiding scams

Updated: 05/14/2014 5:51 PM
Created: 05/14/2014 4:55 PM WHEC.com
By: Brett Davidsen

Storms can leave people in a vulnerable position. That’s when con-artists go looking for victims. For folks looking for help with repairs or cleanup, you need to beware of potential scams.

Right now, there are lots of people in Yates and Ontario Counties who just want to start getting their homes and businesses cleaned-up and there are a lot of precautions they should take when making decisions about who to hire to do that work.

Some of the most common scams, according to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, are contractors who demand large down payments before doing any repairs, only to disappear before any work is done.  Two other common scams are the “Phantom Damage”, which is when a contractor invents damage or creates more damage in order to charge you more and contractors that offer to pay your insurance deductible or work directly with your insurer, which could be a con to lure your business.

To avoid falling victim, the Better Business Bureau says to stay away from the door- to-door repair offers as they could be folks from out of town who may be impossible to get a hold of later. Also, make sure you get everything in writing, in a detailed contract with costs and dates of completion and avoid paying cash. Remember to always check backgrounds and references.

Peggy Penders, Better Business Bureau, said, "In these types of situations, emotions are very high. Folks want this stuff fixed and there's a high demand for contractors, so you feel that there's kind of this urgency to make a decision. You really should still proceed with caution."

You can check with the Better Business Bureau or the local better contractor's bureau to find out if a company is credible.

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