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BBB says beware unscrupulous ‘storm chasers’

First comes the storm, then come the storm chasers.

The Better Business Bureau is warning people to beware of unscrupulous contractors and outright scam artists looking to take advantage of people affected by the storm.

“It is not uncommon for storm chasers to solicit business after bad weather, and snow storms are no exception,” said Warren Clark, president of the BBB of Upstate New York. “Storm chasers may not have proper licenses or insurance for your area and may offer quick fixes or make big promises on which they won’t deliver.”

The BBB is urging customers to take some precautions:

•Do not pay for services upfront and beware any contractor who asks for full payment before the job is done.

•Research companies before hiring them.

•Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics or limited-time deals

•Get a written contract before work starts. The contract should include the price, a description of the work and an expected completion date.

•Pay with a credit card, which will provide extra consumer protections if anything goes wrong.

•Beware out-of-state contractors. Check to see that the contractor’s phone number, address and vehicle license plates are from New York State.

•If you own a local business, beware out-of-state contractors who ask to do business under your name. The BBB has documented several instances of storm chasers who left town after doing shoddy or incomplete work.