How to Avoid Shady Contractors Following Storm Damage

RAVENNA, Mich. (April 14, 2014) — The Joneses say they spent the past year refurbishing the inside of their home off Main Street. This past Saturday, strong winds caused a major setback on the outside.

“[It’s] nature at its finest,” Kelly Jones quipped.

She lives with her husband and daughter in their Ravenna home. That’s where multiple trees toppled onto their roof from high winds. It was a scary sight she said.

“And the ironic thing is, I had just two days prior to this storm contacted a tree removal company to get estimates on taking out these two trees and those five trees and the elm tree and two days later [they toppled], ” she explained.

Now the power is gone. Several trees also fell in the cemetary next door.

One tree busted her chimney, and that sent chunks of brick flying into the driveway.

“[Chimney bricks] smashed the windshield of my car and put a dent in the hood and it took out the side mirror,” she pointed out.

No sooner than the damage became a public spectacle, Jones said the door knocking began.

“Just people coming up out of nowhere, handing you their business card, saying they do cheap work, give us a call,” she said.

If you need roof or chimney repair or a tree service, the Better Business Bureau serving Western Michigan says don’t make a hasty decision.

The BBB suggests the following:

  • Take time to chose a contractor. Don’t be forced into a decision
  • Research companies through credible and verifiable sources, like the BBB
  • Get the company’s complete name, address and phone numbers
  • Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and has the appropriate permits
  • Verify the company’s insurance
  • Ask for references
  • Draft the contract before the work starts, and never pay in full upfront

The Joneses are having a hard enough time dealing with their own insurance company to get the ball rolling.

“When we called them, State Farm, on Saturday, they said someone would be here on Monday. Now they’re telling us it’ll be like a week before a claims examiner comes, because they’ve deemed a Ravenna as a catastrophe area,” Jones said.

“We’re very thankful that no one was hurt,” Jones said.

She said, “We’re just working through it and it’s been frustrating.”

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