Steering clear of shady contractors if you have storm damage - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Steering clear of shady contractors if you have storm damage

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MADISON (WKOW) -- If you have storm damage from this week's tornadoes and microburst, don't let your guard down. This is a time of year when not-so-honest contractors already travel from state to state looking for vulnerable homeowners in desperate need of repairs. So this week, they may be in our area.

While many companies helping with clean-up and repairs have good intentions and do good work, Angie Hicks with Angie's List says you want to stay on alert for those who don't. "A lot of times they have taken money and didn't do the work, they did shoddy work or they are not standing behind it after the work is done."

There are some contractors who swoop into storm-damaged neighborhoods within days of severe weather going door-to-door. "It's important to understand who you are working with. You don't want to make the situation worse. Once you've had a problem: had a storm come through, have tree damage, make sure you access it and do the same research you would when you are hiring a company under any circumstances."

So how do you recognize the crooked contractors? "Watch for whether the company is local, they have marked trucks and vehicles, a local phone number because a lot of these projects that you are having done, roofing for example, is something you need to last a long time. It might come with a warranty as well. You want a company that is going to stand behind that work."

Stay away from any contractor who tries to strong-arm you into signing a contract on the spot for a discount. A deal today should be a deal tomorrow. Another red flag is a company that demands full payment up front. Make sure you know what your insurance policy covers and never sign over your homeowner's insurance settlement up front. Also, avoid a company that offers to pay or help with your deductible.
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