14 Mar 2014

Our insurer quotes the U.S. Federal Trade Commission in offering several basic tips to reduce the risk of being taken advantage of by dishonest contractors who offer disaster-related repairs services:

Protect your privacy: do not give out personal information before you are convinced that it is necessary. If someone is asking for personal information, check their identification card and certification or authorization before allowing them into your home.

Identify the contractor’s home base: check trucks or vehicles for local addresses and license plates; record the name, address, and contact information of contractors with whom you are considering doing business.

Get multiple repair estimates: it’s a good idea to ask for repair estimates from at least three different contractors. And if your home has had a condition of property inspection by a supposedly unbiased independent expert, make double sure that your home inspector has no relationship with the contractors who bid on the work.

Contractors’ insurance: check that your contractor carries general liability and worker’s compensation insurance.

Watch out for good deals: disaster sales offering discounted goods and services may be providing shoddy, damaged, or dangerous goods.

Do not pay the contractor off completely until you are certain that all of the work has been completed satisfactorily.

Example: When we had some plumbing work performed we came home to find leaks all over the place, wet floors, junk and debris not cleaned up. We called the contractor. “I’ve got your check right here, ready to pay you …” I began. The contractor was elated. “I’ll be right over” he replied. “But I’m really sorry, I just can’t pay you …” I continued, ” … because even though your man left a bill and said he was finished, there are leaks and water and mess all over the place. As soon as the job is actually complete, I’ll have your check.” The contractor himself came by to fix the leaks and clean up the mess until we were satisfied. Be nice, be fair, and be firm.

With a combined experience of over 60 years our trusted technicians at United Plumbing Heating Air & Electric are licensed and insured electricians. Our team members are property damage experts and   locally respected specialist in all forms of disaster-related repairs and general building repairs.  Give us a call today!