A guide for flood victim repairs

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - Flood waters may be long gone in Shreveport from nearly two weeks ago.  But for storm victims the ordeal is not over.  So, we discovered some things you may need to know before making any big decisions about damage to your car or home.

Shreveport attorney and flood victim Henry Walker unfolded his recently cleaned rug before reading the bill to us.  "Nine hundred eighteen dollars was for cleaning of persian rug, 12'x15' persian rug."  He had expected the cleaning to cost just under 300-dollars, like the last time he had it cleaned.  But not this time.

So, Walker said he called the business to complain about the high cost after its employees delivered the rug to his home, "and the reaction was, 'um, it was difficult,' which is difficult to believe."  Walker concluded that it's not worth it to seek legal action.  He just wanted to alert the public to be careful as consumers.

We tried to speak with the owner of Ark-La-Tex Oriental Rugs Gallery, Inc, located along Youree Drive in Shreveport.  But the owner, Hani Kaskas, told us he didn't want to talk on-camera.  He did tell us off-camera that he's considering a lawsuit of his own against Walker, claiming defamation of character.  Kaskas even threatened us with a lawsuit if we showed pictures of his business related to this story.

Kaskas also insists that they gave Walker the price quote of $5-per square foot for a wet rug, which for that rug size does add up to 900-dollars.  Walker disputes getting that price quote.

Shreveport Better Business Bureau President Andy Fisher said the company enjoys a very satisfactory standing in the BBB, and has been a member for the last 10-years with no complaints.

Fisher's advice to Henry Walker and others:

-Do business with experts in the field, in this case those who clean carpets, not sell them.

-And, know what the fee is upfront, preferably in writing.

As for Flood-damaged cars, it turns out storm victims with totalled vehicles and no insurance do have some options.  We noticed a sign posted near a flood-damaged area of Shreveport just off Fairfield Avenue.  The sign reads:  "Pipes pays top dollar for wrecked or flood-damaged vehicles."

So, we paid a visit to Pipes Foreign Car Parts," located on Aero Drive just north of downtown Shreveport.  The owner, Rusty Pipes, told us that a car owner can typically get 10-percent of the car's value.

Pipes also had a warning for potential "do-it-yourselfers" in the parts market:  "People call me and say, 'hey, I've got a car and I've pulled the parts off of it.  Will you buy the car and the parts?'  And now, the value goes down to about 2-percent if I'm going to buy it from him."

Pipes also strongly urged people 'with' insurance, who've had their car declared 'totalled,' to ask to retain the salvage, so they can sell it themselves for that 10-percent rate.  Pipes said that's typically much better than the $500 the insurance company might subtract from your pay-out check to keep your totalled car.