Watch for con-artists with winter storm repairs

By Yvette Yeon - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT)- For many years, the Better Business Bureau of Richmond dealt with victims of repair fraud.

"I've talked to hundreds of people who've been contacted by roofers, by water proofing companies, by sheet rock people saying, you've got a problem," said Tom Gallagher of the BBB.

It's a problem, con-artists will say, they can fix fast for a one-time price, if you sign now.

"There will be some really shady sales efforts going on and you want to be sure that you're dealing with a company that's licensed, that if they have complaints they take care of these things, they've got all the proper insurances you need, don't be rushed," said Gallagher.

Matt Montgomery has his guys working on a leaking roof and says there are a lot of ice damage to homes right now but nothing that can't wait for a proper background check.

"People would be desperate in time like these," said Montgomery, "with ice damage and tree damage and get desperate and the first guy that comes along they'll take, I highly recommend that they do their home work," he said.

Both Montgomery and the BBB agree. Don't take any one-day-only offers, don't sign any contracts without making referral calls, make sure the workers are properly insured and licensed by the state, and always get about three bids on the same work.

"Speed, secrecy, and selectivity are the words with con-jobs. Speed, you have to do it right now, secrecy, don't tell anybody else and certainly don't tell my boss, the price I'm giving you, don't tell your neighbors why this is so good and selectivity, we're only in this area today or you're a senior citizen or an Irish catholic I don't care," said Gallagher.

Unfortunately, Gallagher says a lot of those who are targeted happen to be the elderly folk. If there are any doubts about a contractor, the BBB encourages you to check in with them before you commit.

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