Winter Weather woes can bring out scam artists

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As terrible as it is, there are some people who will use this winter weather to take advantage of people whether it be crime related or just a simple scam.

Nancy Crawford with the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South has a warning about scam artists out to target you.

 

BBB Advice for Dealing with Frozen Pipes:

If your pipes freeze and burst:

  • Cut-off the water valve.       If you are unable to locate or operate your cut-off valve, call your water provider immediately for help.
  • Call your insurance agent to file a claim. Be sure to ask for specific procedures or paperwork needed to move forward with repairs.
  • If possible, take photos of any water saturation. An insurance adjuster may need to see what’s been damaged in order to process your claim. Keep any receipts from emergency repairs for reimbursement.
  • Discard wet items within 48 hours to prevent mold, according to the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • Water restoration companies can help remove water and set up equipment for drying areas that were saturated.

 

BBB Advice for Hiring Companies to Repair Damage Caused by the Ice Storm or Burst Pipes: 

  • Don't hire workers who show up unsolicited at your door offering to make repairs. Most reputable businesses are too busy right now to solicit work in this manner.
  • Beware of price gouging. Some unethical businesses may increase prices due to the high demand for these types of services during the cold weather.
  • Shop around to avoid price gouging
  • get competitive bids, and 
  • check references and licensing requirements. You can check a company’s rating with BBB on our website 24 hours a day.
  • Access lists of BBB Accredited Businesses in these industries here:
  • Request a written contract, detailing all services, materials and labor. Be sure the contractor signs your copy before you make any payments.
  • Never pay for all repairs in advance and
  • Do not pay with cash.
  • Permits may be required for certain kinds of repairs. Consumers should check with their local Code Enforcement office to determine if a permit is needed for their repairs.
  • Confirm insurance credentials. Ask to see proof that the contractor has both liability and workmen's compensation insurance. If the contractor does not, you could be liable for any accidents on your property, including injury to the technician.

 

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