Business tip about contractors.
Insurance and business officials are warning residents to beware of traveling storm damage repair crews that may do a shoddy job and disappear, leaving homeowners no recourse.
A June 8 storm produced tennis ball-sized hail in the Canton and Akron area, and the Ohio Insurance Institute along with the Better Business Bureaus of Akron and Canton want residents to beware of itinerant contractors.
“Out-of-state contractors have been known to seek out and canvass
hail-damaged neighborhoods offering to repair roofs or make other home repairs without proper licensing or bonding,” said Daniel J. Kelso,
president of the insurance institute.
Canton Better Business Bureau president Mike Paris said most damage to roofs in the affected areas is minimal.
“I would caution homeowners that their damage may not necessarily equate to obtaining an entire new roof or home re-siding, as some contractors might lead them to believe,” he said.
Although the homeowner ultimately decides who is hired to complete repairs, insurers and local better business bureaus may be sources for reputable and reliable contractor leads.
Akron Better Business Bureau President Vic Wlaszyn also warned that many of the contractors don’t carry Ohio workers’ compensation insurance, and a homeowner could be liable if a worker is injured while repairing the home.
State Farm Insurance has been running ads in the area, warning of
fly-by-night repair scams, and the insurance institute says don’t sign any repair contracts before contacting your insurance carrier to guide you through the claims settlement process.
The bureau leaders warn local contractors against selling their company name to outside contractors. Claims of poor workmanship against the out-of-area company could become the responsibility of the local firm.
Tips for choosing a contractor:
- Obtain more than one estimate. Don’t be bullied into signing the first
contract that is presented to you.
- Obtain all information in detailed writing, including cost, work to be
completed, repair time and payment schedules, contractor guarantees.
- Ask for references and check them. The Better Business Bureau at (330) 454-9401 or www.cantonbbb.org can serve as additional points of reference.
- Write down the contractor’s driver’s license and license plate number.
Some contractors come into disaster areas and may not be licensed or bonded, leaving you may be liable for on-premise injuries.
- Never sign an incomplete or blank contract.
- Never allow your contractor to serve as your negotiator with your
insurance company. Should a consumer allow the roofer or contractor to negotiate on their behalf, damage claims may be over-inflated or in some cases, damage may be nonexistent.
- Don’t pay for the repairs or sign a certificate of completion until all
work has been completed.
- Be wary of door-to-door contacts, fliers or telemarketing calls
soliciting repair work.
- Watch for padded repair estimates. This is especially true if the repair
estimator asks ahead of time for the amount of your homeowners insurance deductible. Often that’s included in the estimate as an incentive to use that contractor.
- Don’t be tempted to conspire in a fraudulent insurance claim. Insurance fraud is a felony.