BBB: Need to make roof repairs? Beware of 'storm chasers'

Suspect roofing work leads list of complaints received by I-TEAM

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – There are storm chasers and then there are storm chasers.

Tips for hiring a roofer

  • Ask for recommendations. Get feedback and suggestions from friends, family and neighbors.
  • Check their track record. Before you hire, check out the roofer's rating at BBB.org. See what previous clients had to say, look for previous complaints.
  • Shop around. Get at least three quotes in writing and then compare them. It's worth noting that quality of work may be more important than price.
  • Verify their license. Make sure the company has a current and active state license with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation.
  • Get everything in writing. Make sure the contract includes the firm's information, materials that will be used, exact costs, completion date etc.

Source: Better Business Bureau

The former refers to amateurs or professionals who film severe weather events, a hobby popularized by the 1996 disaster film Twister starring Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton.

But it’s the latter that you need to watch out for: home contractors who descend on storm-ravaged communities and use high-pressure sales tactics to sell their services.

Problems and disputes with contractors are among the most common complaints received by the News4Jax I-TEAM, and roofing contractors are at the top of that list.

RELATED: Pastor removed from job after I-TEAM investigation | Pastor charged with falsely identifying self as contractor | Construction firm accused of taking military family's money, never performing work | Day care damaged by Irma paid thousands for work that has not begun

Homeowners may be looking to make repairs to their homes or roofs following Tuesday’s thunderstorms, which pelted parts of Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia with hail.

But the Better Business Bureau of Northeast Florida, a trusted resource for consumers, is warning people about “storm chasers” that may be trying to take advantage of residents.

RELATED: BBB offers advice for hiring roofers in Florida

Below are four red flags that the BBB says people need to be aware of:

  • Avoid anyone soliciting door-to-door without registration or business information on their vehicle.
  • Do not hire anyone who asks for full payment in advance, or anyone asks for payment to him or her directly and not a business.
  • Beware of high-pressure sales tactics. If the price is only good for today, that’s a red flag. It may be too good to be true.
  • Steer clear of those contractors who won’t put things in writing, with a contract or documentation of the transaction.

As with any product or service, it’s a good practice to do your own research. Check to see if the firm is an accredited member of the Better Business Bureau and then see how well or poorly it is rated.

Another key is making sure your contractor is properly licensed and has insurance. This can be done easily through the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. Just click here.

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