What you should know
Avoiding Contractor Fraud
In the last few years the Houston area has been rocked with some storms of historic proportions. Unfortunate some contractors take advantage of the situation, committing fraud just to make a quick buck off people who need help the most. Here is some tips on how to protect yourself from contractor fraud.
First, call your insurance company. Send any photos of the damage to them. Keep any documentation on the damage, and any receipts if you’re staying in a temporary location. You need to know what your insurance will cover and won’t and for how much. Once you know what you are covered for, then you can start looking for contractors that will meet the budget.
Any contractor you get quotes for, get their licensing information and verify it if applicable. You will need to learn which types of contractors are required by the state to be licensed. For instance, roofers and general contractors are not required to have licenses but electricians and air condition tech are required to have licenses. If the type of job you have required a licensed contractor, verify that their license is up to date and has had no complaints to that government agency.
If the contractor is trying to give you a high-pressure sales pitch, avoid them. Most likely they are in it just for the money and will either commit fraud or do a bad job. Anyone that just “shows up” ( the basic door to door salesman type) also need to be avoided. Many of those are opportunists. When you have narrowed it down, Google their name and see what comes up. It not uncommon for a contractor to have one or two bad reviews considering not everyone can be pleased, but if there is a bevy of bad reviews, are the bad reviews all have similar bad points it is best to avoid that contractor. Avoid letting your emotions rule your decision making.
Also, when you hire a contractor, make sure the agreement is in writing. Make sure it is detailed in what work is to be done and covered by the work. This should include materials needed, labor and any oral agreements that were made.