The majority of storm-related damage involves flooding, wet and stained ceilings, walls and carpeting, and broken windows, siding and roof damage.
As Connecticut residents assess their losses, the first instinct is to get property damage fixed as quickly as possible. However, Better Business Bureau President, Paulette Scarpetti, cautions consumers against making repair decisions without consulting qualified professionals.
“Consumers want to get their property back into shape as quickly as possible, however, Better Business Bureau recommends they select contractors carefully, and verify their marketplace record at http://www.bbb.org.”
In the aftermath of natural disasters, unscrupulous, unregistered and uninsured contractors offer low ball estimates for repairs that affect the value of a property. If storm-related problems are not fixed properly, they can create long term problems that put homes at risk of further structural damage, mold and problems with electrical, heating and cooling systems.
Connecticut Better Business Bureau has the following tips for selecting home repair or improvement contractors:
Avoid making quick decisions - Most property owners are inclined to get repair work done as quickly as possible, however, it is vital that they obtain bids from several contractors. Check with your insurance company to verify coverage and procedures for filing claims.
Don’t hire only on the basis of the lowest estimate – Unscrupulous contractors may offer very attractive estimates, but perform the work with substandard craftsmanship and materials, and in some cases, take a deposit and simply disappear. If one bid is substantially lower than others, ask why, and compare the details in the various estimates.
Get it all in writing – Once you have selected a company or individual to fix storm damage, make sure all of the details are in a contract, including any verbal promises. A contract should contain details about required materials, labor and financing, and a time frame for the beginning and completion of work. A typical payment schedule would involve paying one third of the total cost before work begins to help pay for materials, one third when work begins and one third upon completion.
Ask contractors whether their workers are employees or third parties, and request proof of insurance in case they are injured while working on your property.
Consumers will find a directory of BBB Accredited Businesses and contractors at http://www.bbb.org/
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Founded in 1928, Connecticut BBB is an unbiased non-profit organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. For more advice on finding companies and businesses, start your search with trust at www.bbb.org.