Better Business Bureau warns homeowners of scam contractors after storms

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MADISON, Ala. – From shattered windows to peeled off roofs, last night’s storms did a number on several homes around north Alabama. And many homeowners now have the unenviable task of hiring someone to fix it.

Leaders with the Better Business Bureau say you should take a closer look before you say ‘Yes’ to the first handyman who shows up.

“To be honest, it was kind of fast,” Madison homeowner Melinda Williams said.

Williams and her family were at home when the fast moving storm hit on Monday night.

“We realized we did not get the brunt of it, so we’re grateful for that,” Williams said.

With a broken front window, things could certainly be worse. At least one neighbor’s roof was destroyed, blue tarps are easy to spot, and contractors are showing up offering to help.

“We call them ‘Chucks in Trucks’. They show up from out of town, saying they can put roofs on, they offer a great price,” Chris Brown with Yellowhammer Roofing said.

Most of them are experts in the trade. But Better Business Bureau leaders are urging homeowners to know who you’re hiring.

“If somebody is demanding cash from you, that’s a major red flag. That means they could take your money, disappear and there’s no way for you to get that money back because there’s no paper trail,” Better Business Bureau director of communications Julia Cherry said.

Cherry says before you hire someone, make sure they’re licensed and accredited. Before they hammer one nail, she says get your agreement in writing.

“When it comes to payment, we follow the one third rule. So one third down in the beginning, one third in the middle and then another at the end,” Cherry said.

“Realistically, I think a couple weeks. That’s what I’d tell them,” Brown said.

That means no early Christmas present for most homeowners expecting a fast fix.

“We’ve been blessed. I have no doubt in my mind,” Williams said.

But families in this neighborhood say they won’t let a few blue tarps dampen their Christmas spirit.

You can find more information about BBB accredited contractors at their website.

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