CONSUMER ALERT: Scammers Prey on Flood Victims as They Rebuild
May 31, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Many families in Arkansas are still cleaning up from the historic floods that hit our state about a month ago. As flood waters recede, some of the damage is becoming more visible, and some are trying to use the floods to line their own pockets by selling water damaged items.
“Some retailers and sellers are transparent that items may have water damage, but others try to hide any damage from potential buyers,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “Arkansans need to be cautious when purchasing electronics, furniture or equipment and look for potential damage themselves. Consumers should also understand that some flood damage may not be visible at first glance and mold or other problems could be inside the item.”
Attorney General Rutledge released the following tips for Arkansans to consider before making any large purchases of items that could have been involved in the recent flooding:
- Consumers should always buy items from reputable sellers. In order to learn more about business reputations, consumers may check online reviews and consult with other known customers of such businesses.
- Be careful if buying electronics or lawn equipment that is either advertised as flood-damaged or suspected of having been submerged in liquid. Such items may not only fail to function properly, but they may present a hazard to health and safety.
- Ask questions and exercise due diligence. If the item is agricultural equipment or is subject to legal title requirements and can be searched, then do so.
- Have a professional inspect or appraise the item for you. If it is a furniture item, be mindful that mold and other harmful substances may have come into contact with the item.
- Ask the merchant about their return policy, and ask for a copy of the return policy. Confirm that you have the ability to return the item if needed.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau and the Attorney General’s office to see if any related complaints have been filed against the business.
Consumers who believe they have been sold a flood-damaged item that was not advertised as such should file a complaint with the Attorney General’s office.
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.