Don’t be pressured into immediate decisions following a property loss, Better Business Bureau advises

CHICAGO, IL – When homeowners or business owners experience a property loss such as a fire or flood, they are not in the best state of mind to make immediate choices regarding restoration work. Unfortunately, some restoration workers have taken advantage of these stressful times by approaching shocked property owners with business deals within minutes of the event.

Last month, media in south Florida reported how stricken homeowners have been bombarded with sales pitches at scenes of property losses. Restoration workers and other contractors listen to police scanners to find business opportunities. They will hear the police report and go to the address of the property. Making decisions in moments of distress can result in repercussions later on.

“There are dishonest individuals and businesses that see an unfortunate situation as a business opportunity,” said Steve J Bernas, president & CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois. “While fixing the problem is important, taking time to evaluate the situation and make the most rational choice is crucial.”

Here are some tips that should be considered if your home or business has been damaged:

  • Do not make any immediate decisions. In the early moments of an event, it can be difficult to make the best decisions. There are important things to factor into choosing a business such as checking for proper licensure and the track record.
  • Do research. Look at different businesses, their prices and their reviews. Check and use the BBB’s FREE online service called Request a Quote to obtain estimates, proposals or general information from BBB Accredited contractors.
  • Do not settle for the first. Request bids from at least two different companies and base them on the same criteria.
  • Lowest price does not always mean better. Pick a business that is affordable with a good rating to make sure you get what you need to fix your property damage.
  • Make sure the business you choose to work with is covered. Determine whether they have proper insurance and ask to see any required state or local licenses or permits.
  • Work with contractors that have a verifiable track record. Check the business for references and see what experiences previous customers had.
  • Get everything in writing. Make sure to get a copy of every document you see and all estimates are in writing.

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