Business

Auburn officials, chamber warn citizens of fraudulent flood-prep business practices

Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis and Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce President & COO Nancy Wyatt are urging residents to be aware that some unfair business practices have been reported relating to flood preparations.

City officials recommend using a contractor who is licensed and bonded as required by Washington State law. Also, when selecting a contractor, be sure to ask them about their familiarity with Auburn City Codes and procedures, and their Auburn business license number.

“I really encourage our local contractors to work with our citizens in an honest and fair way to help them protect their homes and businesses,” Lewis said.

The Better Business Bureau offers the following advice for people facing disaster when using a contractor to perform work on their homes:

• Homeowners should be suspicious of door-to-door workers who, in order to get the job, may use scare tactics. Homeowners should check to see if the company's name is on the worker's vehicle, if the company is listed in the telephone directory, and if a street address is provided.

• If possible, homeowners should request two or three estimates of the work to be done.

• A down payment of 30 percent of the total is standard for the industry. The time when work is to begin is particularly important as many contractors may have a backlog of work due to the situation. Homeowners should not sign a completion form until they are totally satisfied.

• When selecting a contactor, the homeowner should make sure the contract contains a detailed description of the necessary work. A contract which states "repair siding" is an open invitation for abuse.

“In a time of emergency there are those that wish to help, and those that wish to take advantage. Our citizens deserve the best possible service at a reasonable price,” Wyatt said.

To find out if a contractor is licensed to work in Auburn, call the City of Auburn permit center at 253-931-3020 or e-mail permitcenter@auburnwa.gov. It is also suggested that residents contact the Auburn Area Chamber of Commerce at 253-833-0700 or the Better Business Bureau at 206-431-2222 or www.bbb.org to inquire about an individual contractor.

All reports of fraudulent or unfair business practices should be reported the Washington State Attorney General’s office at 360-753-6200 or www.atg.wa.gov.

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