AG Alert: Storm victims seeking repairs vulnerable to scams

AG Alert: Storm victims seeking repairs vulnerable to scams
(Source: Pablo)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - On April 13, 11 tornadoes touched down in Arkansas. It didn't take long after the skies cleared for scam artists to flood the state, according to the attorney general.

As victims assess the damages and seek repairs, Attorney General Leslie Rutledge said they are vulnerable to scams.

"Home repair scams are common following severe weather and place additional strain on hard-working Arkansans when repairs aren't completed as promised," Rutledge said Wednesday. "These bad actors prey on victims."

The Attorney General urged citizens to stay alert and use caution as they begin the clean-up process.

She released the following tips to ensure a reputable contractor is hired to complete repairs:

  • Beware of door-to-door solicitors selling home-repair work. To find someone reputable, ask friends or family who have recently used a home-repair contractor or professional. 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 you with a written contract.
  • Get at least three written estimates. A reputable contractor or professional will never try to pressure you to obtain your business.
  • Obtain and check at least three references from your contractor or professional.
  • 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 your project will be completed. Never make the final payment until you have had an opportunity to inspect the work.
  • Remember that all contracts resulting from a home-solicitation sale generally 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 on avoiding scams and other consumer-related issues, contact the AG's office at 800-482-8982 or email consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov or facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge.

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