Better Business Bureau offers tips on storm cleap-up scams

BBB warns on damage contractors

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - The Better Business Bureau says this is the time to look out for "storm chasers" who want to help you with your clean-up.

The BBB says these scam artists present themselves as contractors who can fix your problems. They come into town, take your money and move-on before you know you've been ripped-off. Often, home and building owners want to act quickly to clean up damage, but hire untrustworthy help, which can lead to even bigger problems.

The BBB offers these tips before hiring someone to help repair storm damage:

1. Get quotes from 3 contractors.
2. Ask for references along with proof of the contractor's licensing and insurance.
3. Do not pay in advance. If anything, a down payment of one-third the total contract price is made with the rest paid after completion of the work.
4. Resist high-pressure sales tactics such as the "good deal" you'll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.
5. Get a written contract that specifies the price and the work to be done and a time frame.

The BBB says prices are highest right after the storm. So, if you can, try to do only what needs to be done. If you can wait, contractor rates will likely drop a few days after the storm.

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