Irene Aftermath: Cleaning Up With a Contractor

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Alicia Steger

The storm has passed, but there's still lots of debris in your yard and repairs to be done. But it's important not to get taken when it comes to hiring a contractor to do cleanup of tree debris or repair of any damage to your home.

After a storm like this, fraudulent contractors pop up in neighborhoods going door to door trying to sell a quick fix. Don't buy it! The Montgomery County office of consumer protection offers these tips so you don't fall victim:

First, do not be rushed into making a decision. You could be overcharged, or a contractor could do more damage than good. Ignore the door-to-door appeals. Instead, consider someone you know or recommended by a friend or neighbor.

If you hire someone, make sure the firm is licensed, bonded and insured. Then make sure to get a written estimate with an invoice listing the parts needed to make the repair. Never pay for services in cash. That's a red flag that the contractor is trying to scam you. Pay by credit card so that if the service is done incorrectly, you can contest the charge.

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