Area home owners are being warned about a door-to-door roofing company which reportedly swindled a property owner out of hundreds of dollars. Storm chasers and other door-to-door salespeople often peddle dubious deals that may be costly to homeowners and create serious headaches, often requiring advance payment and making big promises on which they have no intention of delivering.

One consumer claimed he paid $500 to a roofer who did substandard work and provided false contact information for himself and his company. This company is currently under BBB Investigation. “When disaster strikes, consumers often feel rushed to have repairs completed and fail to research the company they hire to do the work”, said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas. “Failing to do so, however, could cause both your home and wallet to take a serious beating.” Despite increasing public awareness and the best efforts of law enforcement, consumers nationwide continue to fall victim to unethical contractors, and BBB offers the following tips to consumers looking to hire a roofing contractor to repair damage caused by a storm:

• Use extreme caution when workers come to your door without an invitation and claim your home is unsafe. If you are concerned about possible structural damage in your home, check with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements.

• Insist that contractors provide written estimates on company letterhead with contact information.

• Obtain bids from several companies. Review the bids carefully, and compare apples to apples. Remember the lowest bid is not always the best price.

• Don’t fall prey to high pressure tactics. Remember, a legitimate company will be here when you are ready to have the work performed. You should never feel forced to make a hasty decision.

• Ask for local references…and call them.

• Do not pay everything in advance. It is a good rule to pay a third when you sign the contract, another third midway through the job and the final payment after you are satisfied with the completed work. Also, make sure you have received lien waivers showing that workers, subcontractors and materials suppliers have been paid for the job.

• Never sign a contract without first reading and understanding it. Make sure all blanks are filled in.

• Make sure the business has a physical location in the area.

• Verify that any contractor you are considering doing business with is properly licensed, bonded and insured.

• Check out the company’s BBB Business Review, BBB Customer Reviews, and complaint history.

• REMEMBER, if you feel intimidated or frightened by the presence of any salesperson or contractor who comes to your home, call the police at 911.

To check the reliability of the company and find trustworthy businesses, visit bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, please call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373 or go to BBB Scam Tracker.

ABOUT BBB®: For more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2014, people turned to BBB more than 165 million times for BBB Business Reviews on more than 4.7 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. BBB serving Central, East Texas is one of 113 local, independent BBBs across North America. For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903) 581-8373.