CONSUMER ALERT: Scammers Use Severe Weather to Target Homeowners
April 5, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – It is springtime in the South, and that means severe weather is routinely passing through the Natural State and scam contractors are also traveling around to take advantage of homeowners seeking repairs. Severe storms have been causing damage to homes and businesses across Arkansas. The Attorney General's office is reminding Arkansans that con artists may seek to take advantage of these severe weather victims by promising services and not following through, leaving you to still pick up the pieces from your property damage and with less money in your wallet.
“It is pathetic when these scam artists try to take advantage of homeowners who are simply trying to recover,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Many of these bad actors walk door-to-door in ravaged neighborhoods trying to sell their work and assist property owners, but they never even plan to follow through.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the below tips to avoid falling victim to these con artists:
- Find a reputable contractor by asking friends and family for recommendations.
- Consider contacting the Arkansas Contractor’s Licensing Board to verify that the contractor is licensed and has not had any complaints filed against it.
- Avoid any home repair solicitor who asks for an upfront payment or who will not provide a written contract.
- Get at least three written estimates. A reputable contractor or professional will never try to pressure you to obtain your business.
- Check at least three references from the contractor.
- Check with the Attorney General’s office or the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company has a complaint history.
- Obtain a written and detailed contract that includes the grade, quality, name brand and quantity of any materials to be used. The name and address of the contractor must be on the contract.
- Avoid paying for the entire job up front. One-third paid in advance, one-third paid halfway through the job and one-third paid upon completion is a better plan, helping assure that the project will be completed. Never make the final payment until the work has been inspected.
- Remember that all contracts resulting from a door-to-door sale must include a buyer’s right to cancel within three business days after the contract is signed.
- Make sure all warranties and guarantees are in writing.
For more information and tips to avoid scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.