Digging Out From the Snow
January 27, 2016
The Natural State has mostly avoided the winter weather, until the most recent storm hit bringing nearly 7 inches of snow in parts of Arkansas. Both snow and ice can cause property damage to homes, businesses, vehicles, trees and other property, and clean-up efforts may require some Arkansans to seek assistance from contractors or repairmen.
Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released today’s consumer alert to encourage Arkansans to use caution as they enter into contracts with people and companies to make repairs.
“Most Arkansans are ready to help where they can as communities recover from winter weather,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But too often, unscrupulous contractors try to turn a hefty profit on clean-up and repair efforts. It is important for Arkansans to know their rights to keep a bad situation from turning worse by being taken advantage of by an illegitimate business or shady contractor.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips to consider when entering into a contract to avoid getting scammed:
- Comparison shop by getting at least three quotes from different companies. Avoid “drive-by” offers from door-to-door solicitors who use high-pressure sales tactics to secure debris-removal or repair jobs. A reputable contractor or professional will never try to pressure you to obtain your business.
- Deal with reputable firms. Do not do business without getting the company’s background information. Get recommendations from friends and family and ask the business for references. Consider contacting the Arkansas Contractor’s Licensing Board to verify that the contractor is licensed and has not had any complaints filed against it.
- Put the contract and all details in writing. A contract should indicate exactly what is to be done, the quality of materials to be used and an expected completion date. The contract should always include details about the price, payment schedule and any required financing.
- Do not pay for the work up front. The Attorney General recommends a payment plan that involves paying a third in advance, a third while the work is ongoing and a third at the end of the job. Consumers should always be able to inspect the completed work before final payment.
- For any payment that requires funds from an insurance carrier, the consumer should deal with the insurance carrier directly, rather than authorizing the contractor to negotiate with the insurance provider.
- Make sure all warranties and guarantees are in writing.
For more information about tips for home repairs and other consumer-related issues, call the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.