7 On Your Side: Preventing Contracting Nightmares - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

7/11/07-Tyler

7 On Your Side: Preventing Contracting Nightmares

This is what Paul Houston discovered in his front yard after hearing a loud crash during the storms last week.

He soon realized the problem was much deeper.

"It broke both the main water line going in and one to the sprinkler system," says Paul.

Without water for two days, Paul knew he needed help right away. But with knocks on the door from contractors soliciting his business, knowing who to call left him stumped.

"Without knowing anyone around here, it limits who I can contact," Paul says.

"The best thing to do is check them out before letting anyone work on your home," says Better Business Bureau of Central East Texas President Kay Robinson.

Robinson says one of the biggest mistakes people make is getting talked into paying for the work up front, without knowing if they're dealing with a reputable company.

"They say they're going to take the money and buy the supplies they need to repair the roof and sometimes it's shingles they have to purchase...and they never come back," say Kay.

Other things East Texans should do:

*Get more than one bid so you can compare prices.

*Have a contract that details the punch list, and specifies when payments are due.

*Also take advantage of having a reference list.

"References are good things to get unfortunately when a lot of people get references they lay the list on the kitchen table and they don't contact anybody," says Kay.

Paul got his water line fixed, but still has the expense of removing the tree and fixing the sidewalk.

"I think it's somewhere around $400-$1750," says Paul.

Doing the right legwork to find a legitimate company, it's money that won't go down the drain.

Another note: The BBB's website is also a good resource, where you can get a report listing any complaints that have been filed against a contractor.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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