Okla. AG Warns of Potential Storm Scams

April 3, 2007

Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson is alerting consumers of the potential for home repair scams following recent severe weather in his state.

“We have seen in the past that fraudsters sometimes roll in with the wind and rain,” Edmondson said in a statement released by the AG’s office. “Our hope is that by arming consumers with information, we can prevent Oklahomans from falling victim to weather-related scams.”

The attorney general warned Oklahomans to be alert for several clues that might indicate a less than reputable repairman. He says to be wary of anyone who solicits door-to-door, offers discounts for finding other customers or “just happens to have” materials left over from a previous job. Also, be suspicious of a repairman who accepts only cash payments, pressures you for an immediate decision or asks you to pay for the entire job up-front.

Edmondson provided the following tips:

-Ask people you trust for referrals.
-Whenever possible, deal with local firms with roots in the community.
-Check out the repairman with the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Unit and the Better Business Bureau.
-Ask for customer references.
– Get written estimates from several firms.
-Don’t do business without a written contract.
-Get all guarantees, warranties and promises in writing.
-Agree on start and completion dates and have them written into the contract.

The attorney general says the same rules apply when dealing with lawn, landscape, swimming pool or any type of specialty work.

“These swindlers are always out there,” Edmondson said. “They adapt to the conditions or they evolve as people become more aware, but the scams are always there. By taking a few simple precautions, consumers can prevent themselves from being victimized.”

Edmondson’s Consumer Protection Unit (CPU) investigates and prosecutes consumer fraud. To report suspected fraud, call the CPU at (405) 521-2029.

Source: Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office

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