When last month's tornadoes tore through the Midwest, Indiana residents were left to deal with the fallout of damaged homes. Donations poured in to help affected families, and volunteers around the state pitched in to provide assistance. One group, however, has recently arrived with intentions that are anything but charitable: unscrupulous contractors.
Signs are popping up all over the place advertising their services, and some are even directly approaching homeowners and peddling their shady services. Not only do they charge a premium to consumers they presume are desperate, they do a shoddy job, or fail to complete contracted work completely. In a couple of years, when problems pop up with the sub-par workmanship, the families that own the houses are forced to go after the builders themselves, who have by then skipped town, money in hand.
"You get storm chasers, guys who want to come in and charge a premium for major or minor repairs," said Derek Stone, production manager with Fire & Flood Recovery of Kokomo. "They just want to make a quick buck and leave."
One of the reasons they get away with it is that the sheer volume of repairs necessary might be too much for local businesses to handle.
There is, however, a solution that benefits both honest businesses and people who have faced destruction: contractor surety bonds. These policies ensure that anybody who begins work on your property will adhere to the agreement that was drawn up. Not only does this serve as verification for a company that actually wants to help a weather-battered area, it clues residents in that the workmen they are dealing with are trustworthy.