Oklahoma Experts Warn Of Shoddy Contractors During Storm Season

Friday, April 25th 2014, 5:48 pm
By: News On 6

Not only do we have a chance for tornadoes in the weekend forecast, but hail is always a threat in Oklahoma this time of year.

Last year, there were more than 600 hail storms in the state, which is a 15 percent increase over the previous year.

In parts of Oklahoma, roofers are busy making repairs after the first couple of rounds of severe storms.

Whether it's hail or wind damage, the weather can take a toll.

While that's expected during the peak of storm season, it's also peak season for scam artists.

"People need to understand that storm season in Oklahoma is what every scam artist from outside the state is waiting on to be able to kind of attack the area," the Better Business Bureau's Rick Brinkley said.

Rick Brinkley with the Better Business Bureau said they're getting 1,000 inquiries each day about roofers in the area.

He says people with storm damage need to be cautious.

"Couple of things people need to know is No. 1, know a roofer before you need one. Have a relationship with someone, somebody you know you can call," Brinkley said. "Be very leery of people who just randomly show up at your door, saying they've noticed your hail damage and are going to be able to help you."

Jim Lane, with A-Best Roofing in Tulsa, which is a member of the Oklahoma Roofing Contractors Association, agrees.

"Don't be in a big rush to hire somebody," A-Best Roofing's Jim Lane said. "A lot of people are going to be knocking on your door. They're going to be asking you to sign contingency contracts that type of thing. Slow down, take it easy, make sure you're doing the right thing."

Lane said folks should check a company's track record, how long they've been in business and find out if they have workers compensation and general liability insurance.

Although Oklahoma requires roofing contractors to register with the state, Oklahoma is what's considered to be an unlicensed state for roofing contractors.

"Anyone can come in say that they're a contractor and can set up shop," Lane said.

People in the business often call them "Tailgate Charlies" and "Pickup Chucks" because they sometimes swoop in and often don't finish jobs or do shoddy work.

Brinkley said there are some legitimate businesses from out of state which work in Oklahoma.

He said the downside to using those companies is getting them to return later if a problem comes up with something they haven't fixed.