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BBB: Find a roofer you can trust and avoid fraudulent storm chasers

Your home can take a serious beating in a big storm and finding a dependable roofing contractor after bad weather strikes can be a challenge. Storm chasers and other door-to-door salesmen often peddle dubious deals that can cost homeowners thousands of dollars and create serious headaches. The Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota (BBB) recommends doing your research to avoid getting ripped off by an untrustworthy roofer.

Every year, homeowners research the reliability of roofing contractors with the BBB more than 2 million times - more than any other industry group. Unfortunately, last year alone, the BBB received more than 7,600 complaints about roofers from unsatisfied customers.

"Hail and wind damage from violent storms has taken a toll on homes throughout the country this summer and the cost of repairs can be in the tens of thousands of dollars," said Dana Badgerow, President and CEO of the BBB of Minnesota and North Dakota. "When you're spending that kind of money, it's important to take your time and find a roofer you can count on."

When looking for a roofer you can trust, the Better Business Bureau recommends that homeowners:

Start Your Search with BBB. In addition to having Reliability Reports on tens of thousands of contractors across the U.S. at, you can also rely on the BBB's eQuote service to find trustworthy roofers in your area. BBB Accredited roofers have pledged to uphold BBB's Standards for Trust and are contractually obligated to resolve all complaints filed with the BBB.

Vet the Contractor Carefully. Verify the business meets all state and local requirements including being licensed, insured and bonded. Also ask the business for references from recent jobs. Confirm whether or not the roofer will be subcontracting the job or relying on his or her own employees.

Beware of Storm Chasers. In the wake of a storm, fly-by-night repair businesses will solicit work, often door-to-door, in unmarked trucks. They might require advance payment and make big promises that they won't deliver on.

Get at least three bids. Beware of lowball estimates that may potentially balloon over time or foreshadow shoddy work to come.

Recognize the red flags. Beware of any contractor that uses high pressure sales tactics or requires full payment upfront. Also avoid contractors that require you to get the necessary permits.

Make sure everything is in writing. Make sure that the full scope of the work is explained in the contract including cleanup and disposal of waste. All verbal agreements need to be included in the written agreement. Pay close attention to the payment terms, estimated price of materials and labor and any warranties or guarantees.

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