MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Homeowners beware. With Hurricane Zeta on the way, unscrupulous home repairmen and roofers may come knocking in the aftermath.
It comes down to a key question: “Ask to see that card," said Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board Executive Director Chip Carden.
The card is that thin separation betwee the con artist home repairmen and the legitimate workers looking to fix your damage. The Certificate of License for contractors is required by the Home Builders Licensure Board. Certified roofers need one, too.
“It’s a credit card sized card. It’s got the name of their company, got the designated qualifying representative," said Carden.
The dishonest repairmen can show up anytime but they often follow the path the storm. It’s during the homeowners' most vulnerable moment when the danger is at its highest.
“It’s a very scary time when your home is torn to pieces. Slow down. That’s number one. Slow down and be careful," Carden says. “Do your homework, verify licenses and get the contract.”
There are 9,000 licensed contractors and roofers in Alabama and they make up an industry worth around $17 billion.
Most of the unscrupulous work takes place in rural Alabama.
The biggest red flag to look for right away? “Asking for a big down payment, that’s a red flag," Carden warned. “Talking you into going to get the permit instead of the contractor going and getting the permit,” he went on.
No one can stop a storm but you can prevent a storm of emotions and regrets by being vigilant.
Carden says doing unlicensed work in Alabama is a Class A misdemeanor. Authorities have already stopped six job work orders on the Alabama Gulf Coast from Hurricane Sally because the contractors were not licensed.