DATCP Advice for Hiring Contractors After Flood Cleanup
As cleanup from flooding continues in the area, state consumer protection officials are reminding people to be on the lookout for door-to-door contractors who promise quick help at a great price. These contractors, also known as “Storm Chasers”, have a history of doing subpar work for high prices, or simply running off with a victim’s money. “They come from out of state, they try and fix a job real quick – usually for cash or with leftover materials and supplies – and then they leave town, and if you have any warranty work or follow-through, they’re not going to be there to help support their job,” Michelle Reinen, Director of the Consumer Protection Bureau at the Wisconsin Department of Ag, Trade and Consumer Protection said. She adds that sometimes these type of contractors don’t even show up to do the work, even if you put money down.
Reinen says that even though you’re dealing with an emergency situation with flood damage, you still need to do your research to find the right contractor to get the job that you need done. Reinen says to “be sure that you get everything in writing. When you make down payments or partial-payments, even payments in full, get your lien waivers, so that way if a subcontractor or supplier down the line says that payment wasn’t transmitted to them, you have proof of that payment and security for that job.” Reinen adds “If you have that contract in writing, you’ll also have any warranty information, you’ll know who your contractor is, so should there be a problem, consumer protection can help with the follow-through.” She says that these types of contractors are not necessarily from the neighborhood or even a state bordering Wisconsin, but from far-away states. They show up quickly and leave quickly, often without a trace.