Better Business Bureau Warns Homeowners About "After-Flood" Scams

Better Business Bureau of Western Pennsylvania is warning homeowners that the recent torrential rain storms and severe flooding in the Pittsburgh region create the potential for flooding scams. Homeowners should always check with their insurance agent first to see what damages are covered under their policy. As home repairs and cleanup efforts begin, some of the more reputable home repair companies may experience a backlog of consumers wanting to hire them.

That’s when individuals claiming to be part of a company seek out vulnerable homeowners.

“By the time consumers realize what’s happened; these folks have headed out of town to another city where there’s been storm damage. Then the consumer is left to hire a reputable company and pay them thousands more dollars to do the work properly,” Warren King, Western PA BBB President, said.

BBB offers this advice:

– Beware of door-to-door workers who claim they also made repairs at your neighbor’s damaged home. Check with your neighbors.

– Don’t be pressured by individuals who come to your front door claiming your house needs immediate repair.

– Be wary of individuals or companies who say they only accept cash, and that the payment must be up front. BBB recommends paying a third in the beginning, a third in the middle, and the final third once the job is complete to your satisfaction.

– Find out if the company has a physical address. Inspect the company’s business cards and the vehicle they used to drive to your home. Be wary of a vehicle with no company name on it and out-of-state tags. Additionally, always ask to see the contractor’s certificate of insurance.

BBB advises homeowners to check whether a company is registered with the Better Business Bureau. BBB can indicate how long the company has been in business and whether any complaints have been filed. As of July 1st, all contractors need to be registered with the Bureau of Consumer Protection of the PA Attorney General to see if the contractor is registered under the new Home Improvement Consumer Protection Act.

To check out a company contact the Better Business Bureau at 412-456-2700 or log on to www.bbb.org .