With last weeks storms families all over town are trying to figure out their next step. Here are a few tips from the Better Business Bureau that may help you find comfort.
BBB Tips to protect yourself and your family from being taken advantage of:
· For companies knocking on your door: Ask to see the company’s license from the City of Amarillo Code Enforcement department (for roofing companies and door-to-door solicitors). Do they have a physical location in the Panhandle? Ask for an itemized statement with all costs listed. Will the company be there after the sale if there is a problem? If you don’t receive straight answers to your questions, close the door.
· For major permanent repairs, take time to shop around for contractors, get competitive bids and get a report from the BBB. If a company helped you make temporary repairs, you may or may not want to use them for permanent repairs.
· Check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements.
· Don’t be pressured into using someone you’re not comfortable with.
· Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim your home is unsafe. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, have an engineer, architect, or building official inspect it. Note: Many legitimate companies will go door-to-door after a disaster looking for your business. The best way to tell the difference between a legitimate company and a con is to call the BBB.
· Prepare a written agreement with anyone you hire. It should outline the work to be done, the materials to be used, and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. Review it carefully before signing. NEVER SIGN A BLANK CONTRACT!
· Never pay for all repairs in advance, and don’t pay cash.
· Call the BBB for a list of accredited businesses in the industry you are shopping in.
Don’t give in to attempts to pressure you into making a decision today. After a storm, make temporary repairs if possible and wait for the company to do business with that’s right for you!