Vancouver, BC – A state of emergency has been declared in the Thompson Nicola Regional District of BC’s interior after a deluge of rain caused flash floods forcing many people from their badly damaged homes in the village of Cache Creek. For those homes and businesses that can be saved, the restoration process can be emotionally draining, time consuming and expensive.
“Not only do these people have to deal with losing their homes or being faced with massive renovation bills, but also the spectre of scam artists willing to rip people off in desperate times,” says Evan Kelly, Senior Communications Advisor for BBB serving Mainland BC. “Scammers prey on people in times like these, they have no remorse when it comes to taking your money and the crooks understand the urgency of these matters. They want victims to make hasty decisions without contracts in place.”
When seeking flood restoration services, the BBB warns storm victims to practice caution when hiring a contractor.
• Check work history and references. Ask for a list of references to determine if the contractor is familiar with your type of project. A contractor should be able to give you names and phone numbers of at least three clients with projects like yours. Ask each client how long ago the project was and whether it was completed on time.
• Find out if the contractor is insured. Ask for copies of insurance certificates and make sure they’re current, or you could be held liable for any injuries and damages that occur during the project.
• Prepare a written contract agreement with anyone you hire. It should specify the work to be done, techniques to be used, and the price breakdown for both labor and materials. An agreed- upon timeline is also a good idea. Signed by contractor on company letterhead.
• Never pay in full for all repairs in advance, and do not pay cash.
• Don’t be pressured into making an immediate decision with a long-term impact. Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal, avoid letting your emotions get the better of you. Storm/ flood damage victims should never feel pressured to make a hasty decision or choose an unknown company.
• Check business reviews at bbb.org/mbc
Other things to consider:
• Contact your insurance company immediately. Inquire about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. This gets the ball rolling on the claim process.
• Know the difference between flood insurance and homeowners insurance. Flood damage is typically caused by water that has been on the ground before damaging your home. Water damage occurs when water damages your home before the water comes in contact with the ground (broken pipes, a leaky roof, etc.). These claims would be covered by homeowners insurance.
• Do what you can to start mitigating further damage. If you’re worried about wet carpets or rugs, get fans and dehumidifiers going. Talk to an expert to see if the carpet/rugs or furnishings can be salvaged.
• Document the damage to your property. Take pictures or video if possible