In the wake of the severe flooding throughout Acadiana, Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is warning homeowners and businesses affected by the disaster to beware of "storm chasers" and out-of-town contractors soliciting business.

Of course not all (or really the majority) of these folks are scammers, but they may lack the proper licensing for your area. Additionally, they may be offering quick fixes or make promises that they can't deliver.

The BBB offers the following tips for victims of natural disasters:

• Find businesses you can trust at Also, check with the Louisiana State Licensing Board For Contractors, which is responsible for licensed contractors. Also, be sure to have contractors provide proof of insurance before they begin work.

• Get at least three estimates. Get quotes in writing, don’t accept estimates over the phone, and be wary of very low estimates, which could set up a “bait and switch” tactic.

• Get a written contract. Make sure it specifies the price, the work to be done and who will do it, the amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor, and a time frame. Require a copy of their current certificate of insurance.

• Resist high-pressure sales. Some storm chasers use tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot. Be proactive in selecting a contractor and not reactive to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches. Disaster victims should never feel forced to make a hasty repair decision.

• Be especially careful of door-to-door contractors. Many municipalities require a solicitation permit if sales people go door-to-door. Ask for identification. Check their vehicle for a business name, phone number, and license plates from your state.

• Don’t pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront. Insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual. Pay by credit card, if possible; you may have additional protection if there’s a problem.

• While most roofers abide by the law, be careful allowing someone you do not know to inspect your roof. An unethical contractor may actually create damage to get work. The same goes for attics, crawl spaces, ducts, and other places you cannot easily access or see for yourself.

For more information, contact BBB of Acadiana at (337) 981-3497 or online at

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