BBB gives advice on hiring a contractor following storm damage

WEST MICHIGAN -- As storm cleanup continues across West Michigan, many people are now looking to hire contractors for major repairs.

It's a necessity that requires some precaution. The Problem Solvers receive a lot of calls and emails from people who've hired a questionable contractor. These are often people who need help getting their money back after a contractor has taken off without starting or finishing the work.

Well, with all the storm damage and increased need for services, the Better Business Bureau has some advice that may prevent a call to the Problem Solvers.

John Masterson with the BBB said, "We do get reports from people who will pay for their job upfront. That's typically a red flag. Contractors that are reputable will usually ask for a third of the payment upfront, a third halfway through and a third at the end to ensure the work is being done on time, correctly."

"We're starting to get it cleaned up," Dick Fasburg, a Grand Rapids resident said.

Fasburg said he woke up to a loud bang Friday morning and spotted a large tree had come crashing down on his home and motorhome. With family's help, he's spent the last few days cutting it up.

"And hauling it outta here," he added.

Fasburg has his repair plans taken care of and won't have to deal with hiring anyone.

But during events like these, the BBB said contractors will often find you by going door-to-door.

Masterson said, "We have found contractors that will go town to town to town. Since they're essentially scamming people, they don't have to wait for the job to be done. They just kind of take people's money and then kind of move on to the next affected area and kind of continue to use that ploy."

He said beware of high pressure sales tactics, do thorough research and asks lots of questions, including a request for proof of insurance.

In addition to making sure contractors are licensed, bonded, and insured, the BBB suggests you get more than one quote. You can also check the BBB's website for ratings and reviews.

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