Scammers out to take advantage of wind and hail damage
A warning about a different kind of "storm chaser." They show up after storms like we had this week and promise to fix damage to your car or home.
One insurance company set up a temporary catastrophe office in Fulton because of the huge number of claims coming from that area. It's heavily-damaged areas like these that con-artists prey on, hoping to take advantage of the need and leave with someone's money.
But, in the frantic minutes and days after a storm, how do you know who you can trust?
Mike Harrison with the Better Business Bureau said, "They'll oftentimes use high-pressure sales tactics in order for you to take advantage of their services."
However, those services might not be worth your money, and they might not even happen at all.
"They will take a deposit from you, and they may never return to do the work, or if they do, sometimes it's shoddy work."
Not all companies from out of town are out to bilk those in need. Mark Baumann's hail damage repair shop operates on-the-go as insurance companies refer them to certain areas.
"We're from the Lake of the Ozarks," Baumann said. "We're up here helping folks on site instead of having them travel. We do this all over the country, as well."
Baumann's service is set up right next to one insurance's catastrophe office. The site's manager, Bob Artlip, said it sees roughly 60 cars per day in the Fulton area.
"It could be several hundred dollars up to thousands of dollars and everywhere in between depending on the type of car and where they were at in relation to the hardest or less severe areas of the storm," Artlip said.
With the demand so high, the BBB suggests researching the company before hiring them.
"Those that say 'this is a one-time only deal today,' stay away from those. Because a lot of times, those are the ones that are going to do the work...or might take your money and never come back."
Harrison recommends receiving bids from at least three different companies. That's not ensure you receive the lowest price, but that you're accurately comparing the services and quality of work from each company to avoid being scammed.
For free business reviews, visit http://www.bbb.org/search/.
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