Winter weather brings out scam artists in East Tennessee

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – These series of winter storms we’ve been experiencing are like other bad weather events. They can bring out scam artists.

Some storm chasers have already arrived in East Tennessee. They are the people who go door to door offering to do clean up or repair work, but it’s at your peril.

If your home has ice and snow built up on the driveway or around the house, or the pipes in your house have frozen, beware of so-called “friendly” workers.

If there are damaged or fallen trees on your property, some folks may come by offering to remove them for a set price, then change it afterwards. Although you may be anxious to get things back to normal in your life as we deal with all the snow and ice, avoid acting in haste.

Jerry Tipton, Better Business Bureau
Jerry Tipton, Better Business Bureau

Jerry Tipton with the Better Business Bureau says to look out for plumbing companies, tree service, heating and air, and roofers.

“If anyone comes to your door, don’t do business with them. The reputable ones are too busy and won’t be knocking on your door,” said Tipton.

If a door to door salesperson or worker says you need some repairs on your storm damaged home, get a written agreement with anyone you hire. The agreement should outline the work to be done, the materials to be used and the price breakdown for labor and materials.

“They can tell you anything upfront, but if it’s not on paper, they’re not obligated. And make sure your copy is signed by them before they leave and before you give them the money,” Tipton said.

Tipton also says to be wary of anyone who is pushy.

“They try to intimidate older people. They will often go through older neighborhoods becasue typically, they’re the ones that have more problems and older people living there,” he said.

Some of the door-to-door salespeople already known to be roaming around, possibly in your neighborhood, are plumbers and tree trimmers.

Not everyone can be a plumber. If you have frozen pipes, hire someone local who is certified and licensed. Meanwhile, simply buying a chainsaw at Walmart does not make someone a qualified tree servicer.

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