The City of Deer Park would like to remind its residents to be aware when hiring a contractor to make repairs to your home especially after a natural disaster. Over the last couple of months, our community has seen evidence of contractors scamming residents by taking partial and full payments to repair fences and roofs only to have the contractors never show up at all.
In an effort to protect residents and cut down the chances of getting scammed, we have put together some basic tips to follow:
Contact your insurance company: Ask about your policy coverage and any specific filing requirements. Don’t forget to save all receipts, including those for food, temporary lodging, or other expenses that may be covered under your policy. Your insurance company may also have a list of reputable contractors, this will take much of the guess work out of the equation.
Do your own research: Find businesses you can trust on Better Business Bureau; BBB.org. Check your local city government agency responsible for registering and/or licensing contractors. Get references from friends and relatives on contractors they may have used in the past.
Be especially careful of door-to-door contractors: Many cities will require a solicitation permit if a company is making door-to-door sales. ALWAYS ask for identification, check their vehicle for business markings and phone numbers, and check the license plate to make sure it’s registered in Texas. If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is.
NEVER sign over insurance checks to contractors: Some not so reputable people will prey on those in immediate need, never sign over an insurance check directly to a contractor even if they tell you they will take care of everything for you. Make sure you get an invoice of ALL work that is done and pay them directly, a preferred method of payment would be credit card that offers fraud protection. If you are in doubt about insurance claim rights you should contact your insurance company or agent.