DES MOINES, Iowa -- When severe weather strikes it can be shocking and come at the worst time, but it’s important not to make hasty decisions about home repairs.
“You should talk to your insurance company first. And then, when it comes time to actually hire someone, there’s a few things you’ll want to do: you want to make sure that if they are traveling through town, that they are registered and have the licensing that they need. Many municipalities actually require travelling type of repair shops to be registered with the municipalities, especially if there’s tornado damage,” Ryan Smith with the Better Business Bureau said.
According to the BBB, scammers love to take advantage of storm damage.
Contractors and repair companies sometimes go door-to-door offering their services for repairs and it can be hard to tell which companies are legitimate and which are simply trying to rip you off.
Scammers will tell a story like, "I'm doing your neighbor's house and I have some leftover shingles and I can give you a good deal but you have to act fast."
The Better Business Bureau says that pressure is a red flag.
“Some things that you can do that make those red flags more apparent, ask for a contract that includes the estimated price as well as the amount of time it will take to complete the project. These storm chaser type contractors will often not give you that time frame and they may actually get a project started and then never finish. You should be able to ask for credentials and references from a contractor. If you have any push back on that kind of thing, that might be another red flag that this isn’t a person you want to do business with,” Smith said.
The Attorney General Tom Miller said his office has dealt scams like this in the past.
"I think the big thing is for the consumer to get the transaction in writing, all the terms. Not be pressured. Check them out to the extent that they can. Do not make a down payment unless it's a relatively small down payment for materials. The check made out to the contractor. And for them to keep in mind they have three business days to cancel the transaction," Miller said.
Those three days he referred to is part of the Door-to-Door Sales Act.