The head of the Better Business Bureau of greater Iowa says his agency saw a surge in complaints about unscrupulous contractors as Iowans started to clean up after tornadoes and floods hit the state. From the first of June to mid-July, the agency received 28.5% more complaints about "home service sector" businesses or contractors.
Chris Coleman, president of the Better Business Bureau of greater Iowa, says scam artists tend to prey on the most vulnerable. "Maybe it’s the elderly. Maybe it’s a disabled person in a neighborhood who’s scared," Coleman says. "Oftentimes they lie or through hyperbole they make it seem like the city or the state might come in force them to do this at a much higher cost. They’ll prey on anybody they think they can bully around."
Coleman says a major red flag should go up if a contractor asks for payment before the work is completed. "We know that people are asking for pre-payment on services that they’re offering to do for people and then never show back up to do the job," Coleman says.
"That’s why we recommend doing business with people that you’ve checked out through family, friends or through the Better Business Bureau."
Coleman suggests checking out the Better Business Bureau’s website to see if someone has filed a complaint about a contractor you may be considering. The Better Business Bureau of greater Iowa covers most of the state, with the exception of Council Bluffs which is served by a Better Business Bureau office in Omaha.