A recent wave of severe weather in Wisconsin should have homeowners watching out for storm chasing contractors, after powerful storms knocked down trees and cause damage to structures across the state.
If your property is damaged in a storm, the first priority is often to get it repaired as quickly as possible, although State Division of Trade and Consumer Protection Administrator Frank Frassetto says there are many people who will look to take advantage of that. “There are transient work crews that try to prey on those unfortunate enough to find themselves in a situation where there property has been damaged, and obviously you want to get that work done right away,” Frassetto says.
However, he says patience is important when it comes to hiring a contractor. “Take your time, don’t be hasty, and never give in to any high pressure tactics.”
Frassetto says you should be wary of any contractor going door-to-door and should always ask for a copy of their state registration card, along with proof of liability insurance. He suggests only working with companies you have been referred to by sources you trust, such as family and close friends. “Try to find someone local, that you know,” he says.
Also, be aware of protections created a state “Storm Chaser Law” that was implemented last year. It bars contractors from promising to pay for all or some of your deductible, keeps them from negotiating with insurance companies on your behalf, and gives customers a right to cancel within three days if an insurer denies all or part of a claim.
When hiring a contractor, Frassetto says consumers should be sure to get a contract in writing, along with a lien waiver, and make sure they are supervised during the work. He says many of the storm chasing outfits will get the money up front, then either disappear or do a sub-standard job on the project.