CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is urging anyone faced with wind damage to be cautious when hiring a contractor to make repairs.
The advice comes following a weekend weather system that brought strong winds and heavy rain to residents across West Virginia.
“Strong winds caused varying degrees of damage throughout West Virginia,” Morrisey said in a statement. “Consumers will begin surveying damage as the winds subside, however, so will con artists who often prey upon those already facing hardship. Consumers must cautiously research any contractor they consider hiring.”
The AG's office says unlicensed persons often will canvas neighborhoods and offer to repair damaged property with deals that seem too good to be true. At times, they will imply they are working on nearby homes or suggest they are with the bank or insurance company.
All too often, the AG's office says, the money is paid without completion of the work.
The AG's office says many 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 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 repair storm damage.
- 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 contacting the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board at 304-558-7890.
Anyone with questions or a potential storm-related home repair scam is asked to call the Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808 or the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office at 304-267-0239. To file a report online, visit www.wvago.gov.