Dallas, TX, June 14, 2012 – Baseball size hail battered the Lakewood neighborhood in Dallas and other areas last night. Windshields and cars were pounded, roofs damaged, and trees shredded. The Better Business Bureau offers tips for home and business owners who are coping with storm damage.
The BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas advises homeowners and property owners to reduce the chances of even more problems by choosing repair businesses carefully. It’s not unusual after a damaging storm for unreliable contractors to target customers who need repairs. To help customers find trustworthy repair services, the BBB offers these tips:
Check with your insurance company as soon as possible to ask about policy coverage and how to file a claim. If you must make temporary repairs to prevent further damage, be sure to keep receipts.
Know the business you're dealing with. It's a good idea to get two or three bids, and compare materials, service, and guarantee, not just price. Ask for – and check out – customer references. Check out the business with the BBB at www.bbb.org or use the free BBB iPhone App. On your mobile device start at m.bbb.org. In Dallas call 214-220-2000, or in surrounding areas call 1-800-705-3994.
Be alert for home repair contractors or car dent repair services who pour into town after a storm. Some home repair services charge high prices for shoddy work, or leave jobs unfinished. Look for these red flags: be cautious of contractors who solicit business door-to-door with vague information; don't provide a physical address or phone; or use scare tactics ("That chimney's about to fall") or high pressure ("This price is good today only"). Pop-up car dent repair shops might appear in parking lots. Make sure you know the business that's offering the dent repair, as well as the terms of the guarantee, if any.
Read and understand the contract and guarantee. Make sure you get a written estimate and contract. The contract should include a written description of the work to be done, and the price of labor and materials. If the company makes any verbal promises (such as "We'll take away the cut tree limbs"), make sure they are in writing. The guarantee should describe what's covered by the guarantee, for how long, and what the company will do to honor the guarantee.
Keep down payments reasonable. It's possible that a repair service will ask for some money down. But if you're not comfortable with the amount requested, ask the company to agree on a smaller down payment or look for a contractor who doesn't ask for a down payment. Never pay the entire amount in advance. Make payments by credit card or by check made out to the company, not in cash.
Don't make the final payment or sign a completion agreement until all the work is done to your satisfaction. Don't fall for high pressure or promises to return and take care of final details. It may be difficult to get the company to return once the job is paid for and signed off.
File a complaint if needed. First try to work out problems directly with the business. If a problem is not resolved, file a complaint with the BBB at www.bbb.org or send a complaint letter to: BBB, 1601 Elm Street, Suite 3838, Dallas, TX 75201. The BBB accepts customer complaints on businesses, and sends a copy of the complaint to the business. The BBB asks the business to reply, and checks back with the customer to see if the complaint is resolved.
To check out businesses with the BBB:
For a BBB Business Review on a business, start at www.bbb.org. Click on “Check Out a Business or Charity” to search for information on a business. Use the free BBB iPhone App to check out businesses wherever you are. On your mobile device, start at m.bbb.org. In Dallas call 214-220-2000 and in surrounding areas 1-800-705-3994. BBB Business Reviews include BBB Rating (from A+ to F), BBB accreditation status, business contact information, customer complaint history, government actions, advertising reviews, and consumer tips.
The BBB rating of A+ to F is based on 16 elements including how long the company's been in business; whether there are customer complaints, and if so, whether the complaints are resolved; whether the BBB has challenged the business's advertising claims; and more.
BBB Business Reviews also show whether businesses are BBB Accredited. To be BBB Accredited, businesses must meet BBB standards (see below). The BBB has reviews on both BBB Accredited and non-accredited businesses, and BBB accreditation is not a factor in BBB ratings.
Find a BBB Accredited Business. Want to find BBB Accredited Businesses in the type of business you need? Use the BBB Accredited Business Directory. Start at www.bbb.org and click on "Find a BBB Accredited Business". BBB Accreditation means that the BBB checked the following: Licenses, References, Advertising, Time in Business, Complaint History, Government Actions, and Owners or Principals History. BBB Accredited Businesses agree to meet BBB Accreditation Standards. These are just some of the available categories:
Auto Body Repair & Painting
Auto Repair - Windshield, Glass Shops
Fire and Water Damage Restoration
Try BBB’s “Request a Quote” service. Ask for information or bids on the service you need directly from BBB Accredited Businesses. Go to the BBB Business Review on a BBB Accredited Business or to a listing in the BBB Accredited Business Directory and click on “Request a Quote.” Enter basic information to hear back from BBB Accredited Businesses.
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About the BBB
The Better Business Bureau of Metropolitan Dallas, Inc., is an independent, non-profit business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair business practices and works for trust in the marketplace. BBB helps consumers find and recommend businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. Businesses that earn BBB accreditation contractually agree and adhere to the organization's Standards For Trust. BBB provides services for both BBB Accredited Businesses and non-accredited businesses. BBB services include BBB Business Reviews on businesses, lists of BBB Accredited Businesses by category, customer complaint resolution services, advertising review for truth in advertising, and tips and alerts for consumers and for businesses. The BBB serving Dallas and Northeast Texas was founded in 1920 and is one of 116 BBBs serving the U.S. and Canada. Every year, more than 87 million consumers rely on BBB for Business Reviews, consumer tips, and scam alerts. For more, start at www.bbb.org.