GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As cleanup continued Friday following a Thursday night storm that produced strong winds and an EF1 tornado in West Michigan, the Better Business Bureau warned consumers of scammers.
“Anytime we have major storms like this, we see bad contractors and scammers trying to take advantage of people looking for that quick fix, that affordable fix to get that damage cleaned up,” Katie Grevious, marketing and community relations manager for BBB in Western Michigan, said.
She said the state saw several bad businesses taking advantage of homeowners following the Gaylord storm last year.
“We want people to be very cautious if there are people going door to door offering services for cleanup and repair. Reputable businesses will give you their information and be willing to come back later,” Grevious said. “So if anyone’s ever pressuring you at the door to do the work now, that’s a red flag that either they don’t know what they’re doing or they may have ulterior motives or they don’t really have the right prerequisites to do it.”
Michigan State Police encouraged anyone impacted by the storm to first contact their insurance company and document the loss.
Businesses accredited through the BBB are licensed and insured. Grevious said if a company reaches out to you to help, you should request to see its license before signing any contract.
She also said it’s important to never pay a company the total cost of the project upfront.
“Talk to your insurance company first and find out what they cover and what that cost looks like,” Grevious said. “So when you do find a contractor, you can have that three-way conversation the entire time the project is happening so everyone understands what amount is being asked for, what amount is being paid so you’re not stuck with a huge bill at the end.”