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BBB Warning for Consumers Dealing with Leaks - KOAM TV 7

BBB Warning for Consumers Dealing with Leaks

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Heavy spring rains mean area residents might need the services of a waterproofing company. But the Better Business Bureau says check out the company before you sign contracts or pay any money.

"Consumers dealing with damage from storms and heavy rain may find that demand for waterproofing and remediation contractors will be strong," said BBB Springfield Regional Director Stephanie Garland. "To make sure they're dealing with a reputable company, consumers can research contractors with BBB."

BBB Business Profiles can help find a contractor or research ones recommended by friends. The reviews show how long a contractor has been in business, how many complaints, if any, have been filed against the company and how the company has responded. The review includes BBB's rating from A+ to F, the lowest rating BBB gives to any company.

BBB also offers the Request A Quote service, which allows consumers to obtain an estimate from one or more trustworthy BBB Accredited Businesses. These businesses have pledged to comply with BBB Standards, such as advertising honestly, honoring promises and responding to customers' complaints. Simply click on the Request A Quote tab in the BBB Business Profiles and fill out the form with your contact information and a description of the service you need.

BBB also helps consumers resolve disputes through its cost-free mediation and arbitration services. Common complaints include dissatisfaction with the quality of work provided, contract issues, inferior repairs, failure to complete the work and refund policies. If you need BBB assistance, go to bbb.org or call 888-996-3887.

BBB's offers these tips to consider when hiring contractors for emergency work:

• Research their track record. You can search for a contractor's Business Profile at bbb.org to see if they are an Accredited Business, get free information on their history of complaints, and read verified Customer Reviews. Also ask for local references and speak with those customers about their experience with the vendor and the quality of work. If possible, inspect the contractor's work yourself. Ask if the contractor is a member of a professional association that has standards or a code of ethics.

• Ask for multiple quotes. You should always shop around and get at least three quotes from different businesses. Make sure all bids consider the same set of criteria. Remember that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid; if one bid is significantly lower than the others are, the contractor may be cutting corners or may not understand your work requirements.

• Get it in writing. Always get estimates in writing and before work begins, request a written and signed contract. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready and make sure you read and understand it before signing. The contract should include contact information, start and complete dates, a detailed description of the work to be done, material costs, payment arrangements, and warranty information. Specify who is to obtain necessary building permits and who is responsible for clean-up. Make sure all verbal promises are included in the contract.

• Verify license and insurance. Be sure that the company you decide to work with has the necessary licenses and insurance to work in your region. In the United States, you can get to your state's licensing agency to learn more here.

• Inquire about a lien waiver. A lien waiver is a statement from your contractor that says all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work.

• Arrange a payment schedule. Never pay in full up front. Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, or that you use a credit card.

• Get a receipt. Request a receipt marked "Paid in Full" when the job is completed and your final payment is made.

• Keep your contract. Hold on to your contract for future reference or if any questions arise after the work is complete.

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About BBB

BBB is a nonprofit, business-supported organization that sets and upholds high standards for fair and honest business behavior. BBB services to consumers are free of charge. BBB provides objective advice, BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.3 million companies, 11,000 charity reviews, dispute resolution services, alerts and educational information on topics affecting marketplace trust. Visit bbb.org for more information.

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