BBB issuing warning to homeowners about 'storm chasers'

At least eight homes were destroyed in the severe storms. (WSMV)

The Better Business Bureau is issuing a warning to Middle Tennessee homeowners who are affected by the weekend storms.

According to the organization, the aftermath of a crisis often brings out "storm chasers" or scam artists.

The scammers will go door-to-door offering to repair people's homes that have sustained damage.

The BBB says these people are not licensed and are not going to follow through on the promises they make.

If any of these people knock on your door, never give them any money before service.

Homeowners can check the BBB's website to see the full roster of businesses that are accredited by the organization. The BBB also has an online tool where you can check estimates.

The BBB has issued the following tips for homeowners: Know your rights and responsibilities provided by the Tennessee Attorney General. Many contractors are required to be licensed and registered with the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance. Call 615-741-8307 or go online to check whether a contractor is registered. Many municipalities require a solicitation permit if sales people go door-to-door. Verify that they need to have a permit by contacting your local Township or Municipality. BBB suggests consumers be pro-active in selecting a contractor and not re-active to sales calls on the phone or door-to-door pitches. While most roofing contractors 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. Check online with the Tennessee Secretary of State or call 615-741-2286 to verify that the company is registered to do business in Tennessee. You can also check with your local city/county offices. Try to get at least three to four quotes from contractors and insist that payments be made to the company, not an individual. Do not pay for the job in advance. Be wary of any contractor who demands full or half payment upfront. BBB suggests paying 1/3 of the payment up front, 1/3 once work is half complete and final payment once the job is complete and has been inspected. Resist high-pressure sales tactics such as the “good deal” you’ll get only if you hire the contractor on the spot. Get a written contract that specifies the price, the work to be done, the amount of liability insurance coverage maintained by the contractor and a time frame. Require a copy of their current certificate of insurance, retain a copy of the contract and ensure all verbal promises are written on the contract. Pay by credit card, if possible. You may have additional protection if there’s a problem. Check that the contractor’s vehicle has signs or markings on it with the business name, phone number and license plates for Tennessee or southern Kentucky.Copyright 2018 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Kara is an Emmy Award-winning digital producer. She is a Cincinnati native and an alumna of the University of South Carolina. She previously worked at WRDW-TV in Augusta, Ga., before moving to Nashville five years ago to work at WSMV-TV.

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