Flood victims, beware!

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-11581745243804.jpg’, ‘Photo provided’, ‘Rockford Township officials met with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin in his U.S. Capitol office as part of the National Association of Towns and Townships Capitol Hill Meeting. Durbin discussed efforts to assist Rockford residents affected by the flood with Mickey Goral (center) and Jasper St. Angel.’);

Homeowners and businesses who are trying to recover from the severe damage that resulted from the Monday, Sept. 4, storm should beware so they do not become victims a second time. Dennis Horton, director of the Regional Office of the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Chicago and Northern Illinois, says, “As sure as the rains fell, there will be unscrupulous businesses that will try to exploit the disaster and try to scam homeowners and businesses that, in some cases, are in need of making major repairs.

Horton adds, “While there is a sense of urgency here, we urge consumers and business owners to take the time to carefully consider repair contracts and do not rush into making expensive decisions that can aggravate an already stressful time.”

The BBB suggests there are many issues that residents should consider:

1) Be very careful before contracting to have damaged or destroyed property repaired.

2) Do not give in to demands to make excessively large down payments. And don’t make full payment until all the work is done to your satisfaction.

3) Do research—contact the BBB before you hire a contractor, and avoid businesses that come to your door with a good deal.

4) Ask to see any required state or local permits or licenses.

5) Work with local contractors who have a verifiable track record.

According to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office, Illinois has a Home Repair and Remodeling Act that requires contractors to furnish customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000. Additionally, the Act states a contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor.

The law also requires contractors to carry at least minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury and improper home repair.

Residents who would like information about a business can contact the Rockford office of the Better Business Bureau at (815) 963-2222 or visit the Web site at www.rockford.bbb.org.

From the Sept. 13-19, 2006, issue

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