Disaster Officials Issue Fraud Warning

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Release date: 
May 21, 2003
Release Number: 

Birmingham, AL -- State and federal officials today cautioned residents of Alabama's storm-affected counties to use caution when hiring contractors to clean up and repair their homes and businesses. They offer the following suggestions:

  • Use reliable, licensed contractors. Check with the Better Business Bureau or the state board of contractors regarding any outstanding consumer complaints. Residents also may call the state Attorney General's Office Consumers' Protection Office at 1-800-392-5658
  • Get written estimates. Call reputable contractors, and read the fine print.
  • Check references. Call former customers; ask about their job satisfaction.
  • Proof of insurance. Make sure the contractor is bonded and also carries general liability insurance and workers' compensation.
  • Ask for a written contract. It should state work to be performed, who will obtain any permits or licenses, associated costs and the payment schedule, and obligate the contractor to pay for all materials ordered.
  • Contractor guarantees. These should be written into the contract.
  • Pay by check. Avoid both advance and cash payments. A reasonable down payment is 30 percent of the total project cost.
  • Canceling a contract. This should be done within three business days of signing. Send notification by registered mail.
  • Make final payments only after work is completed. Don't sign completion papers or make the final payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
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