Don't get ripped-off following a Monsoon storm -

3 On Your Side

Don't get ripped-off following a Monsoon storm

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Monsoon storms can leave costly damage. (17 July 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5] Monsoon storms can leave costly damage. (17 July 2017) [Source: 3TV/CBS5]

Arizona's monsoons have a history of leaving behind some severe damage. From downed trees, to leaky roofs, repairs can be costly. And, in many cases, homeowners stress out. "It's an emotional state of mind. Your car got damaged, maybe your roof caved in. Your air conditioner doesn't work anymore. You need help right away," says Felicia Thompson with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau.

Thompson says storm chasers and unscrupulous contractors use the aftermath of these storms to take advantage of you.

So, the first thing you need to remember is to relax and simply assess the damage your property may have received. "Taking pictures and documenting everything before you ever have someone come out is a great idea so you have a baseline of what damage was done to your home,” says Thompson.

If you think the damage is severe enough, contact your insurance company and ask a lot of questions before filing a claim.

The Better Business Bureau also advises that you don't let a contractor contact your insurance. Make sure you are the one involved. "I think what we're trying to avoid is those companies who say we'll contact your insurance company and you have no idea what's being said. We want to make sure you're involved in the situation," said Thompson.

You'll also want to research any company or contractor you may do business with. Remember, any work above $1,000 and state law requires companies and contractors to be licensed with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. This protects you, the consumer.

"A lot of times, we'll see people coming in, even from out of state, to knock on folks' doors and say ‘I can help’ or ‘I’m licensed to help in your area,” Thompson said, “Those are the ones you want to make sure you're checking out."

And finally, if you have minor damage like downed trees, don't hand over money in advance for the clean-up.

A common ploy is to tell homeowners they have a crew just down the street, but once they get your money, no one shows to clean up.

So, if you dodged the storm this time, count yourself lucky.

Just remember, there's a long season ahead of us."As a homeowner, since we're on the brink of what just happened when it comes to storms, it would be wise to look into companies right now,” Thompson recommends. “Make sure you check out an air conditioner company or maybe a tree trimmer. Just have them on deck so you don't have to waste time finding an ethical company after a storm.  You’ll already know who they are," she said.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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