LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT) - Severe weather can cause more than damage, with the state's top law enforcement official telling residents to be careful when dealing with contractors and construction companies.
Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said in a news release that con artists see an opportunity to defraud people during severe weather season by saying they will fix or repair a property but do not.
"It is pathetic when these scam artists try to take advantage of homeowners who are simply trying to recover," Rutledge said. "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."
Rutledge's office gave the following tips for people to use in case their property is damaged during severe weather:
- 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.
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