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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
The University of Illinois Tri-County Extension office
Blog: Avoiding "storm chasers" who offer to make repairs
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By Farm and Extension News
The University of Illinois Tri-County Extension office covering Livingston, Woodford and McLean counties.
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By Chris Coleman, Better Business Bureau
July 11, 2014 2 p.m.

The Better Business Bureau serving Greater Iowa, Quad Cities and Siouxland Region is warning local residents effected by last night’s storms to be aware of storm chasers and out-of-town contractors soliciting business. The aftermath of a crisis often brings out contractors eager to take advantage of those in desperate situations.

The BBB warns that some storm chasers may falsely create or hijack a local identity in order to appear to be a local Iowa business. Furthermore, yesterday the BBB received numerous calls from out of state contractors requesting BBB Accreditation. The Better Business Bureau is a standards based organization. Our Accredited Businesses must meet and maintain our high standards in order to don the Accredited Business Seal.

The BBB strongly urges consumers to utilize our free services to find a local business you can trust. Visit http://www.bbb.org/iowa for our Accredited Business Directory or to utilize our Request-A-Quote service and have a reputable contractor contact you directly.

The BBB offers the following tips for hiring a reputable contractor:

When approached by a contractor, ask for proof of licensing and bonding.

Get several quotes and insist payments be made to the company, not an individual.

Do not pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront.

Do not hire people who show up at your door offering services such as tree or debris removal and roof repair.

Resist high-pressure sales tactics, such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot.

Check out the company first with the BBB, and deal only with reputable contractors.

Get a written contract that specifies the price, the work to be done and a time frame.

Prices are often high in the immediate aftermath of a storm. Be careful of price gouging.

If possible, pay with a major credit card as you may have additional protection if a serious problem arises.

Check that the contractor’s vehicle has signs or marking on it with the business name and phone number.

As always, when looking for a reputable business, Start With Trust®.

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