Protecting Hurricane Harvey Victims From Vicious Contractors

Always do your research before signing any paperwork

Time and time again we hear from storm victims who gave a roofer their last dollar, only to learn their project would be abandoned.

It's sad to think that someone would stoop this low, but when disaster strikes, there are contractors out there with bad intentions.

Many people call them storm chasers: Workers that travel to devastated areas, pressure you to put down a deposit and never come back.

There are a number of good, honest contractors in Houston right now doing great work for those in need. But the bad ones will try to slip through the cracks and take advantage of you when your guard is down.

There are many steps homeowners should take before trusting someone to rebuild their home.

"Make sure you check their qualifications, look into their background," said Steven Badger, a North Texas-based attorney. "Make sure they have a website and do your research on them. Do not hand over your insurance checks until they're there to begin the work."

Here are Samantha Chatman's Solutions:

• Watch out for doorknockers. If someone comes to your home, write down their information. Take their business card and do your research before signing any paperwork.
• If a contractor says he'll waive your deductible, that's another red flag. Badger said it's illegal to wave a deductible in Texas.
• Also, if the price seems too cheap, that should make you raise an eyebrow, too.
• If you're going to put down any money, ask the contractor to buy your materials first. If they can't afford it, you may want to shop around.

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