(NEWS CENTER) We've already had some damaging storms this summer... And with July just beginning... There are sure to be more.
Angie's List is warning anyone who's had property damage from a storm to suffered be on guard against unscrupulous people who offer to do repairs... but who aren't qualified and don't even intend to follow through.
Kelly Worner's home in Oklahoma was damaged twice during a tornado.
The first time was back in 1999... And that time, the damage was extensive.
She admits... She didn't make the best decisions when she chose someone to do the repair work.
Wormer says: "My contractor forged his credentials. Forged his recommendations. I would not make that mistake again."
Angie Hicks says: "After a storm goes through an area it's not unusual for us unfortunately to hear stories of consumers being taken advantage of - companies coming door to door asking for money up front, promising to do jobs that they don't do. We want to remind consumers to be the best consumer they can even in scenarios like this."
Even though you might feel eager to get the work done quickly, take enough time to get at least three written estimates...
Get all the details of the job in writing and fully read the contact before you sign it.
Angie says: "Make sure you are working with good local companies. Make sure they are licensed, insured, bonded, if necessary so that you can be sure that you are getting the best company that's going to stand behind the work because a lot of times we're talking roofers, major home improvement projects and you want a company that's going to be around for their warranty."
So here's a list of specific tips to avoid door- to- door scammers.
--Just say no: If a stranger comes to your yard offering to fix your roof, remove trees or do other major repair work for cash up front, say, "no thanks".
Chances are, he or she will take your money and disappear, leaving you with little or no recourse.
--Do your research: Check with the state for the status of the contractor's license, bonding and/or insurance coverage. Online customer reviews can also be helpful.
--Get estimates: at least three... in writing.
--Understand your insurance: Learn what your insurance policy covers before a storm hits... Never sign over your homeowner's insurance settlement upfront... and avoid a company that offers to pay or help with your deductible. In some states, deductible help is considered insurance fraud.
--Know your contract rights: for example, whether you have a window of opportunity to cancel the job after you sign the contract.
Also... Don't sign a contract with blank spaces... and Always obtain an original copy with both party's signatures.
--And finally... Be patient: When massive storms hit, tree service professionals, plumbers, roofers and hauling companies are in high demand... and the best... are generally the busiest. Beware the company with time on its hands when every other company can't even answer the phone.