Jul
26

Home Flooded, Need Help: Get it the Right Way

July 26, 2010

It hasn’t rained for days, but Chicago and suburban residents are still drying out after near-record rainfalls Friday night and early Saturday morning flooded streets, viaducts and basements.

In fact, it’s been the wettest July on record to date.

Many homeowners are going to have to hire outside help to fix their water damage, and the Better Business Bureau is warning residents to be aware of scam artists during this trying time.

These so-called “storm chasers” — which include contractors, roofers, landscapers and waterproofing companies to name a few — prey on vulnerable homeowners, so take these BBB tips before hiring anyone to do work on your home.

The Larson family took this picture on Saturday at 29th and Sunnyside in Westchester, one of the hardest hit areas.

*Always be weary of someone who comes to your door offering professional services. Take their information if you are interested and then research the company before hiring it.

*When hiring a contractor, always check for proof of licensing and bonding.

*Even though you want the work done as soon as possible, you should still get three to four quotes before settling on one.

*Do not pay for a job before the work is done, and make sure payments are to be made to the company and not an individual. Never pay in cash; if you pay by credit card, you may be able to cancel if there is a problem.

*Get a contract in writing with specifics on all promises made, including how much the job will cost and how long it will take to finish. There’s a law in Illinois that requires a written contract for all home repair or remodeling work over $1,000.

*Sometimes dishonest contractors will jack up their prices immediately following a disaster or strong storm, so be on the lookout for price gouging.

“Scam artist are trying to make money off people’s misfortune,” said Steve J. Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.

“Everybody wants to get their property fixed and back to normal as quickly as possible, and ideally, they will make careful decisions and find the best crews to do good work at a fair price.”

You can always research a contractor or business through the Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org.

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Tracey

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