• BBB warns of home improvement scams, especially after severe weather hits

    By: Leah Jordan

    Updated:

    SHELBY CO., Tenn. - This week, the BBB released its annual scam report.

    RELATED: Millennials taken advantage of by scammers the most in 2018, report says

    One of the top five scams across the country in 2018 proved to be home improvement scams. 

    With the possibility for severe weather Saturday, FOX13 is tracking the forecast closely – but the BBB warns crooks may be doing the same thing. 

    “They know there was a big storm in a particular area so they pack up and head there, and offer their services,” said Nancy Crawford with the Mid-South BBB. 


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    After severe weather hits, some scammers look for business. 

    “We call them storm chasers,” Crawford said. “The problem with storm chasers is: where are they going to be if you need them to come back and they didn’t fix something properly?” she said. 

    The BBB advises the best thing to do before a storm is be proactive. They urge homeowners to prepare a list of reputable home repair companies before a storm.  

    Crawford said reputable companies may be busy after a storm, and if so, homeowners may have to make temporary repairs on their own – such as tarping a roof. 

    “Keep your receipts because you’ll need to provide those to your insurance company,” she advised. 

    Next, make sure you get a home repair person’s plans in writing. 

    “What they’re going to do, what materials they’re going to use, the time frame it’s going to take,” Crawford said. 

    Finally, the BBB said paying for a complete job up front is not customary. 

    “That’s general practice. You give them a third up front, a third in the middle, and a third when the job is complete,” Crawford said. 

    In Shelby County, jobs under $3,000 don’t require a license. 

    Jobs that are between $3,000 and $25,000 require a Tennessee Home Improvement license. Anything above $25,000 requires a General Contractor’s license. 

    In Mississippi, contractors must have a state contracting license for jobs ringing in at $5,000 or more. 

    And in Arkansas, any jobs up to $20,000 require a home improvement license.

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