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Spotting a scam: Better Business Bureau recommends to do research ahead of choosing repair companies

Posted at 6:00 PM, Jun 28, 2024

BELLEVUE, Neb. (KMTV) — Pounded and damaged, that's how the hail left Sherri Rieke's Bellevue home and car.

"It sounded like a war zone, " said Rieke.

With that damage came unwanted solicitation from repair companies showing up unannounced. The Better Business Bureau calls them "storm chasing" companies.

"I did feel bombarded," said Rieke. "I can't say I felt like I was in danger, but I don't feel real safe because you have a lot of strangers, several companies, ringing doorbells, you don't know them, they're insistent on talking."

Josh Planos with the Better Business Bureau said spotting a "storm chasing" company can be challenging.

"It's really important to know who you can trust, particularly when you're in a very vulnerable situation," said Planos.

Planos said research is the most important part in determining which is a local versus a storm chasing company. He recommends checking if the company has an office in town, if they actively work in your neighborhood, and reading what other neighbors have to say about them.

Rieke said she's all too familiar with "storm chasing" companies from previous storms.

"They were out of town people and they would just constantly walk up and down the streets knocking on your door and even with a no, they come back," she said.

The BBB said homeowners should be very careful with door-to-door solicitation on the spot. Planos said to never pay in full upfront for a project, but standard practice is to put a 10-15 percent down payment.

Although Rieke now has to replace her roof, gutters, and car, she said she's satisfied with the research she did into a local company.

"Just trust in our local businesses here in Omaha and Bellevue, Nebraska," said Rieke.

BBB encourages anyone who has been scammed by “storm chaser” companies to report them immediately, so they can potentially save another neighbor from being scammed.

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