Beware Post-Storm Contractor Scams

Posted at 5:15 PM, Jul 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-22 17:15:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL/ - After a storm goes through an area it's not unusual to hear stories of consumers being taken advantage of - companies coming door to door asking for money up front, promising to do jobs that they don't do.

Contractor David Fonzi says when hiring a contractor, ask them to do a walk through of the inside and outside of the home.

"I had a client who had a window blown out, but everything else was ok. But when I got up there he had a basketball sized hole in his roof in one area and two softball sized holes in another area," says Fonzi. "So I advise that everybody get with your contractor, have them come do a walk through. Not just the exterior, but get up in the attic and check all your joists in your roof, all of your framing up in there to make sure because you don't want the damage to come back later."

Angie's List founder Angie Hicks advises homeowners to work with good local companies.

"Make sure they are licensed, insured, bonded, if necessary so that you can be sure that you are getting the best company that's going to stand behind the work because a lot of times we're talking roofers, major home improvement projects and you want a company that's going to be around for their warranty," says Hicks.

Though a homeowners situation might seem to be one of desperation, Hicks recommends homeowners take enough time to get at least three written estimates on the job.

Get all the details of the job in writing and fully reach the contact before signing it and never sign a blank contract.

Angie's List also advises homeowners to learn what their insurance policy covers before a storm hits.

Hicks says never sign over your homeowner's insurance settlement upfront and avoid a company that offers to pay or help with your deductible.

In some states, deductible help is considered insurance fraud.