After a disaster like a hurricane, tornado, or severe windstorm hits South Carolina, it’s common to see blue tarps on roofs and maybe siding or roofing materials sitting in yards, waiting to be installed. But if you’ll notice, some of those telltale signs of damage never seem to move but sit there month after month with no sign of work being done. What’s the cause of this?
The answer may be storm chasers.
Although the term “storm chaser” is used for those who purposely pursue severe weather for curiosity, scientific investigation, or just for kicks, it’s also applied to predatory contractors that travel to parts of the country that have been hit by bad weather looking for homeowners and insurance companies to take advantage of.
Tactics of Storm Chasers Restoration Companies
Storm chasers many times use the tactic of going door to door offering too good to be true deals on water damage restoration and storm damage repair. Some things to look out for are:
- Incredibly low prices. These may grab your attention, but they often come with surprise costs you aren’t told about. Never let price be your sole motivation for choosing a restoration company.
- Asking for upfront cash payments. Although it’s a regular industry practice to pay one-third of the estimated price of the work being done, never do so by paying cash. Insist on an invoice and always use a credit card or check, but only after the work is completed and you’ve made sure you’re happy with the repairs that have been done.
- A shortage of references. References help you decide if a company is legitimate. You should be able to easily research them on a user-review site like Angi or Yelp. Also, ask friends and workmates if they ever worked with the firm or heard anything about them.
- High-pressure tactics. Storm chasers like to use these tactics because they know you need help right away and you may be desperate. But if you feel pushed in any way, turn them away. A reputable restoration manager or tech will patiently explain the work that needs to be done and answer all your questions.
- Lack of training. Water damage restoration does not work that just anyone can handle. Ask to see the certifications of anyone who works on your property. They should be IICRC approved to help make sure the work is being done correctly. To confirm certifications, contact the IICRC at 1-844-464-4272.
Many storm chaser companies promise warranties that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on or just flat-out refuse to follow through on their promises. To make things worse, they often disappear as soon as the work, or part of the work is done. Some will collect an upfront check and you’ll never see them again.
How Storm Chasers Scamming Local Companies
Fly-by-night storm chasers understand that being unknown by the local community can hurt their scamming prospects. They also will usually not have a license to work in South Carolina and aren’t registered with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). So to get around these problems, they form an agreement with a local company to use their name and business license while working in the area.
Under that contract, they’ll claim a high quality of work and they’ll support all warranty claims. But these are lies because they know they’ll soon disappear into the ether. That leaves the local company holding the bag on a bunch of shoddy work claims. This can not only cost the local contractor tons of money, but it can also destroy their reputation.
Hire a Restoration Company You Can Trust
Kingsley LLC is a South Carolina disaster restoration company you can trust. We’re a family-owned, fully licensed, certified, and insured water damage restoration and remediation company that’s BBB A+ accredited, A rated with Angi, with over 100 five-star reviews on Google.