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Avoiding basement repair scams after a flood

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (WSIL) — Heavy spring rains mean people might need the services of a waterproofing company to help them with water-logged basements. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) says home owners should check contractors out before signing a contract or paying any money.

· Request a Quote- allows consumers to obtain an estimate from one or more trustworthy BBB Accredited Businesses. Simply click on the Request A Quote tab in the BBB Business Profiles and fill out the form with your contact information and a description of the service you need.

· Research their track record. You can search for a contractor’s Business Profile at to see if they are an Accredited Business, get free information on their history of complaints, and read verified Customer Reviews. Also ask for local references and speak with those customers about their experience with the vendor and the quality of work. If possible, inspect the contractor’s work yourself. Ask if the contractor is a member of a professional association that has standards or a code of ethics.

· Ask for multiple quotes. You should always shop around and get at least three quotes from different businesses. Make sure all bids consider the same set of criteria. Remember that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid; if one bid is significantly lower than the others are, the contractor may be cutting corners or may not understand your work requirements.

· Get it in writing. Always get estimates in writing and before work begins, request a written and signed contract. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready and make sure you read and understand it before signing. The contract should include contact information, start and complete dates, a detailed description of the work to be done, material costs, payment arrangements, and warranty information. Specify who is to obtain necessary building permits and who is responsible for clean-up. Make sure all verbal promises are included in the contract.

· Verify license and insurance. Be sure that the company you decide to work with has the necessary licenses and insurance to work in your region. In the United States, you can get to your state’s licensing agency to learn more here.

· Inquire about a lien waiver. A lien waiver is a statement from your contractor that says all suppliers and subcontractors have been paid for their work.

· Arrange a payment schedule. Never pay in full up front. Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, or that you use a credit card.

· Get a receipt. Request a receipt marked “Paid in Full” when the job is completed and your final payment is made.

· Keep your contract. Hold on to your contract for future reference or if any questions arise after the work is complete.

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