CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is urging state residents forced to deal with recent flood damage to be when hiring others to assist with repair and cleanup.
The advice comes in light of significant floods that impacted portions of northern and north central West Virginia.
“As many families work to restore their lives after July’s flood, it’s important to remember that some who offer help may have ill intent,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Scammers often prey upon those already facing hardships. That’s why it is important to cautiously research any contractor to make sure you don’t get ripped off.”
Unlicensed persons often will canvas neighborhoods and offer to repair damaged property with deals that the AG's office says seem too good to be true. They might imply they are working on nearby homes or suggest they are with the bank or insurance company. Morrisey's office says all too often, the money is paid, but the work is not completed.
Many times, scammers fail to provide contact information, such as a contractor’s license, business card or other identification, and use high-pressure sales tactics to force immediate purchases.
The AG's office warns residents to take their time, research options and be very careful before hiring an unfamiliar contractor. Here are a few suggested tips:
* Evaluate the size and scope of their project.
* Obtain written estimates from multiple companies.
* Research companies that do those jobs.
* Ask for references to verify the contractor’s prior work.
* Look for reviews of the company on trusted websites.
* Check to see if the contractor has a valid license by contracting the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board at 304-558-7890.
Additionally, the AG's office reminds residents that there is a three-day right to cancel on door-to-door sales. State law also requires contractors to allow the consumer five days to cancel roofing contracts without penalty for any portion of repairs not covered by the consumer’s insurance policy. For roofing contractors, the clock begins with the consumer’s receipt of the insurance notice.
The AG's office also remains on guard for price gouging violations. Anyone with questions, a potential storm-related home repair scam or other violation is asked to call the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or file a report online at www.wvago.gov.