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News & Information
Avoid Contractor Scams
Posted Date:
8/29/2011
Residents are encourage to be on the lookout for "storm chasers." Such companies generally use high-pressure sales tactics, ask for cash up front, may have out-of-state drivers licenses or plates, be unable to produce local references, and have no proof of workers’ compensation insurance. Often, they perform shoddy work.
CONTRACTOR SCAMS

Be on the alert for “storm chasers” – companies that follow severe weather and try to contract with homeowners who have suffered storm damage to provide roofing and other repair services. Company representatives will typically go door to door in storm-damaged areas posing as recovery experts or contractors specializing in home repairs.

These storm chasers will ask homeowners to sign a contract allowing their company to negotiate with the homeowner’s insurance company. The companies generally use high-pressure sales tactics; ask for cash up front; may have out-of-state drivers licenses or plates; be unable to produce local references; and have no proof of workers’ compensation insurance. Often, they perform shoddy work, and then leave the area, leaving the homeowner with little or no recourse.
 
Storm chasers strike at a time when people are at their most vulnerable and try to capitalize on the misfortunes of storm victims. The elderly and disabled are particularly at risk because they may be unable to assess the damage to their homes themselves.

Use the following tips to avoid being scammed by the storm chasers:
 
•    Get at least two estimates on work in writing before choosing a contractor to repair your home or remove debris.

•    Never enter into or sign a contract while reviewing it quickly – review the contract and check with the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau for complaints and information regarding the company and or individuals representing the company.

•    Ask how long the company has been in business and their physical location.

•    Know where you are getting your supplies and get invoices for all purchases.

•    Make sure your insurance company is working with you to provide the proper estimate and coverage allotted by your policy.

•    Ask for insurance and licensing information, and make sure the company has the proper work permits before work begins.

•    Never pay cash up front before the job is completed. Paying by check is the best method.

•    Watch for price gouging on materials and work to be provided.

•    Don’t pay full price for services you have yet to receive. Make full payment only when the terms of your agreement have been met.

•    Always get a phone number and address for the company represented, and then check it out.

•    Ask for local references and check with them about the work provided.

•    If you notice out-of-state plates, logos on vehicles, etc., make note of the information.

This is an excerpt from the Missouri Attorney General’s web site, http://ago.mo.gov/.  Also available there are other tools such as “Know MO” where you can actually enter a business name to check for prior complaints.

We strongly encourage you to check with City Hall (660/562-8001) to see if a contractor is licensed, or if you feel someone may be trying to take advantage of you contact Maryville Public Safety by 911 or non-emergency 660-562-3209.

Help us protect you!!

 

 
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City of Maryville   |   P.O. Box 438   |   415 N. Market   |   Maryville, MO 64468   |   Phone: 660-562-8001
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