Alert: Be careful, repair scammers exist after last week's hailstorm


ABILENE, Texas - Tips are being offered for Abilene homeowners who had significant damage to their roofs during last week's hailstorm.

Knowing who to trust can be a big issue when it comes to expensive roof repairs.

Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau:

- Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. Don't be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact. Make temporary repairs if necessary.

- For major repairs, take time to shop around and get 3-4 estimates (unless you have a trusted contractor) based on the same specifications and materials. Check out references that are at least one year-old, verify with BBB at 325-691-1533 or at about the company's rating.

- Be wary of door-to-door workers who claim to have left-over materials from a job "down the street" or who do not have a permanent place of business. If sales people go door-to-door, check to see if they have a city of Abilene solicitation permit.

- Require a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, the materials to be used and the price breakdown for both labor and materials.

- Never pay in full for all repairs in advance, and do not pay cash! While many businesses may ask for a deposit, BBB suggests that no more than one-third of the job be paid up front. Be sure the contract specifies the schedule for releasing payments to the contractor.

The Better Business Bureau's Steve Abel urged Abilenians to call his office help is needed finding a reputable company or if you feel like the contractor has taken advantage of you.

"Reputable folks who have been here a long time are not going to ask for money up front for anything," Abel said. "If you have a question about somebody who has contacted you, you can call the BBB or search their website to see what kind of track record that they have."

John Bunton from Barr Roofing in Abilene said it's also wise to check with neighbors and friends before committing to a company to make sure your choice is trustworthy.

Even if your roof is new, Bunton suggests having a yearly inspection done in preparation for storms.