You may have heard of the term ‘Storm Chaser’ before and can think of dare devils getting into there cars and chasing after tornadoes. In the contractor and home improvement world storm chasers are individuals or companies who quickly move into areas following severe weather looking to exploit homeowners and local businesses needing repairs due to storm-related destruction and damage. These con artists use this opportunity to pressure people into making impulsive, often expensive, decisions about construction work needed to repair damaged roof, siding, windows and cleanup. These scammers collect the homeowners’ insurance claim, perform shoddy work and then move on never to be seen again. So that means you’re totally out-of-luck for them to honor any warranty work after they complete the job. The situation in Illinois has gotten so severe that Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has posted a public warning about Storm Chasers. You can read it here.
Helpful tips to protect you from storm chasers:
- Ask for recommendations from people you know and trust and, whenever possible, use established local contractors.
- Call the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline to check out a contractor and to learn if any complaints have been filed against a particular business.
- Even if there is a need to act quickly, shop around for the best deal. Get written estimates from multiple contractors, and don’t be rushed into a deal.
- Get all of the terms of a contract in writing, and obtain a copy of the signed contract.
- Never make full payment until all the work has been completed to your satisfaction.
- Never pay in cash.
- Be aware that you have the right to cancel a contract within three business days if you signed it based on the contractor’s visit to your home.
- In the case of disaster repair, you have an additional right to cancel. If your insurance carrier denies coverage, you have the right to cancel the contract within five days of when your insurance carrier denies your coverage.
- Ask to see required state and local permits and licenses. Insurance adjusters and roofers must be licensed by state agencies. If the contractor does not have a required license, or if the name on the license doesn’t match the name on the contractor’s business card or truck, that should raise a red flag.
In the event you find yourself in need of repair service following a severe weather incident it is wise to contact a local reputable contractor. Olson Windows Doors and Siding has been in business since 1979 and has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and has been an Angie’s List ‘Super Service Award Company’ for the past four years in a row! We offer top industry leading products such as GAF Roofing, James Hardie Siding, Pella Windows and Doors and much more. We are family owned and operated and will treat you with the respect you deserve.