Contact 2: Severe Weather Contractor Fraud Tips

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ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) - Repair and rebuild, property owners are already looking for contractors following Wednesday night’s storm.   But the experts urge caution when moving forward.   Sadly we see consumers who've been scammed after every major storm. But it doesn't have to happen if you take your time and do your homework.  You don't have to be a victim of shady contractors.

Jason Shupp of the Roofing & Siding Contractors Alliance says there are certain things you need to know when looking for the right person for the job. 'That you`re registered with the state to work as a business.  Checking resources such as the BBB to make sure they have a history of good workmanship.  Making sure they have some local presence. A fixed building is always a good start. '

The Missouri Department of Insurance offers these tips: 

  • Make temporary repairs to avoid more damage
  • Make a list of personal property destroyed/damaged
  • Confirm your policy covers living expenses during repairs
  • Work with insurance company adjusters
  • No obligation to use public adjusters
  • Get contractor estimates after claim is processed
  • Don`t pay the entire repair bill in advance

Chris Thetford of the Better Business Bureau suggests property owners follow the rule of thirds.  'if you  hand over all of the money at once, you lose control of the job. So you want to pay a third of the cost up front, about a third when the project is half done, and keep a third back until the project is completely done’.

Some consumers have turned over their entire insurance claim check to a contractor that can be a bad idea according to Thetford.  'There are laws in Missouri which prohibit contractors from saying that they will do the whole job for what your insurance company will pay and that you won`t have to pay a deductible.'

Kobe Asberry of Paragon Certified Restoration says be cautious when approached by people going door to door.  'You want to look for someone that's a local contractor that`s been around for a while that`s been established.   Maybe even go with someone your insurance company recommends.’

The best prevention is preparation.   Do your homework when looking for a contractor.
If you have consumer concerns call us at Contact 2.  Volunteers take calls Monday through Thursday between 11:00am and 1:00pm.   The toll free number is 800 782-2222.

Below are links to sites that can help you make the right choice:

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