Richmond, KY -- Have you found a contractor to help clean up and repair damage from May's floods and storms?
If so, before signing on the dotted line, check with the Commonwealth of Kentucky's Consumer Protection Division at (888) 432-9257, state and federal disaster recovery officials said today.
Attorney General Ben Chandler is warning victims of damage from recent storms about the potential for "fly by night" contractors or "storm chasers" coming in and taking advantage of people.
Chandler urges consumers to be very cautious when hiring contractors for repairs from damage caused by recent storms. Consumers should use only reputable contractors and check references, including the Better Business Bureau and Attorney General's Office.
Consumers should never pay large amounts up front in advance of the work being performed. To check out a contractor with the Better Business Bureau or the Attorney General's Office, call toll free (888) 432-9257.
Here are some scams - and ways to avoid them - from the Consumer Protection Division:
- Shoddy Construction: Transient
contractors and fly-by-night remodelers are drawn to disasters. Tip:
Use local businesses. If you don't have first-hand knowledge or a trustworthy
reference, contact Kentucky's Consumer Protection Division and the Better
Business Bureau. Ask if they have any complaints or other information
about the business.
- Price Gouging: Unscrupulous
individuals may charge unreasonably high prices for products in short
supply like building material or generators. Tip: Get more than one
estimate. If you think you're deliberately being gauged, report the
contractor to the Kentucky Consumer Protection Division.
- Get It In Writing: Specify the work to be done, the price for the work and an hourly rate for any additional work before allowing any contractor to begin. Tip: Get estimates in writing from several contractors before selecting who will help you clean up.
Consumers who have problems with a contractor or have been victims of fraud are urged to contact the Commonwealth of Kentucky Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at (888) 432-9257.