Knowing the Difference Between Scams and Legit Businesses


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LURAY, Va. (WHSV) -- Cold weather can be bad news for pipes.

If they freeze and burst, it could cost a business or homeowner thousands, but when you get an offer in the mail, it may be hard to tell the real deal from the rip off.

The company sends a letter telling homeowners their water line is not covered and they should take action because a break could cost thousands of dollars.

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) said it's taken a lot of phone calls because they say the letter is confusing.

"According to their records, my lines from the house to the street, my water lines from the house to the street, were not covered in any kind of insurance, and I kind of questioned this," said Mary Beth Brill, who lives in a house built by Habitat for Humanity and received a letter from Home Emergency Insurance Solutions this month.

"What was very confusing is it looked very official, almost like it was from the county or from the town, but I couldn't find their insignia anywhere on the letter," said Brill.

That's when she called the sheriff's office and the town office and was told it's not a scam.

Brill's homeowners' insurance already covers her pipes, so new insurance would be extra.

"People who are on fixed incomes are stretching already. This would be another added expense," said Brill.

Page County Sheriff John Thomas said companies send a lot of mailings time of year.

His recommends checking before you buy.

"Check with your homeowner's insurance or your renters insurance make sure they cover it. And if they don't cover it generally you can get a rider on that policy cheaper than you can buy one off these other places," said Thomas.

Brill said no matter how official it looks, it may not be necessary.

"Don't let yourself be scared by anything you get in the mail," said Brill.

"So just be careful, buyer beware," said Thomas.

Thomas said if you're not sure whether it's a scam, contact your sheriff's office or police department.

The BBB said that they are there to answer questions about mailings and other things that look like scams.

They also said if you receive a call or letter from Homeserve or a company like them, call your water utility company and your insurance company to see if you're already covered.

Also, make sure you know the company's cancellation policy.


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