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Northeast Calgary residents warned of fly-by-night contractors in wake of devastating hailstorm

Northeast Calgary residents warned of fly-by-night contractors in wake of devastating hailstorm
A month after being slammed by a severe hailstorm, there’s now a new problem for many people in northeast Calgary. Gil Tucker reports on warnings to watch out for the con after the storm.

A month after being hit hard by a devastating hailstorm on June 13, now some people in northeast Calgary are being slammed again, this time by unscrupulous contractors.

Read more: Alberta government to offer disaster support following ‘tragic’ thunderstorm in Calgary and area

Some of the fly-by-night roofers and other repair companies have rushed to the city from outside Alberta.

“These are storm chasers,” Shawna-Kay Thomas of the Better Business Bureau said.

“They come in after the storm and they try to get victims of the storm to do business with them. They often take a portion of your money and start to do the work and maybe they do not return, or they take your money and they don’t show up to do the work.”

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Officials with the City of Calgary say they’ve been investigating the problem since the storm.

“We did see a rise in the number of door-to-door sales reps in the hardest hit communities,” the city’s Abdul Rafih said. “Thirty-four were unlicensed, which is a serious concern for us.”

Well-established contractors are also concerned about the high-pressure sales techniques and low-quality work.

Read more: Southern Alberta storm caused almost $1.2B in damage, 4th most costly Canadian natural disaster

“[Typically],there are a couple of guys who come with their truck and they will just slam your roof on,” Greg Garcia of Calgary Elite Roofing said.

“And once the work is done, they will be gone. So if there is an issue with your roof, your siding, even the entire exterior of your house, you will be on your own.”

City officials have some advice for people to follow to avoid being cheated.

“Ensure that [the contractors] have the correct city licence to carry out the work, that they have all the approvals from the city,” Rafih said. “[Conduct] a police background check, [ensure] that they carry liability insurance.”
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Read more: ‘It’s an emotional thing’: Calgary residents with hail-damaged homes flock to community support centre

The BBB cautions people needing repairs not to sign any “limited time offer” deals offered on the doorstep.

“Be sure to look for [contractors’] reviews,” Thomas said. “You also want to check their complaints history, and you can get this at www.BBB.org.”

City officials say they’ll continue trying to protect people from the so-called storm chasers.

“On a daily basis, our officers are monitoring the areas hardest hit,” Rafih said.

“I am sure many folks are eager to get the work completed and done, but we want them to take their time and do their due diligence before making any payment or going through any unnecessary agony.”