JEFFERSON CITY, MO (KTVI) – In the aftermath of a bad storm, scam artists or disreputable business owners can show up in an effort to take advantage of consumers whose homes were damaged or destroyed.
Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said his office will go after any would-be scammers who follow the path of severe weather and prey on those in need of repairs to their property.
Storm-chasers will typically go door-to-door offering repair or cleaning services, utilize high-pressure sales tactics, ask for cash up front, and may try to get customers to sign a contract allowing them to negotiate directly the home owner’s insurance company. They may also have out-of-state driver’s licenses or license plates, and would be unable to produce local references or even have the licenses or bonds needed to work in the area.
The attorney general offers the following tips to avoid coming a victim of storm-chasers:
– Do not pay for any services up front.
– Beware of any contractor who tries to rush you into agreeing to their services, or anyone who shows up to your door soliciting work.
– Contact your insurance company and take pictures/videos of the damage.
– Seek recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, co-workers, and anyone else you may know who had work performed on their homes in the past.
– Get three written estimates for the work, if possible, and compare the bids.
If you have suspicions about the contractor, or wish to file a consumer complaint, you can contact the attorney general’s consumer protection hotline at 800-392-8222.