Okla. AG Warns of Scam Potential During Post-Storm Clean-Up

December 18, 2007

In the wake of his state’s winter storms, Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson warned consumers to be wary of the possibility for clean-up-related-scams.

He said his office received 145 home repair related complaints last year and noted that the number of complaints typically spike following natural disasters.

“Unfortunately, there are people who will take advantage of the desperation of others,” Edmondson warned. He said while people who suffered damage during the recent ice storms are “anxious to clean up their yards and begin the process of putting their homes and their lives back in order,” his office has already gathered information about door-to-door solicitors offering to clean up tree limbs for a fee. Edmondson said “hiring someone you don’t know and don’t check out can have devastating effects on your pocket book.”

The attorney general urged Oklahomans to:

* Be wary of hiring door-to-door repairmen. Stick to businesses that have a physical office location.

* Always have a detailed written contract. The contract should spell out all costs for the work to be done and specify start and completion dates.

* Never pay a large amount of money up front. If a repairman demands a large down payment, you should see it as a warning sign.

*Contact the Attorney General’s Office or the Oklahoma Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints against a particular repairman. If the repairman has a history of unhappy customers, take your business elsewhere.

For more information or to report possible fraud, contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at (405) 521-2029.

Source: Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office

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