Attorney General's News Release
December 6, 2006
Nixon warns consumers in eastern Missouri to watch for fraud after winter storm
Jefferson City, Mo. — Bursting pipes, collapsed roofs, wrecked cars and high prices may be among the results of last week's ice and snow storm, and Attorney General Jay Nixon is reminding consumers to look out for law breakers and con artists.
"While heroes have rushed in to help those without power, those stranded in highway snow drifts and those who need a place to live temporarily, there will no doubt be crooks hoping to capitalize on the crisis," Nixon said.
Consumers in eastern Missouri may need home repairs for pipes that have burst or roofs that have caved in under the weight of snow and ice. Body shops will also be busy, as will tree limb and debris removal companies. Nixon offers this advice for consumers to avoid getting ripped off:
- Contact your homeowners or auto insurance company to file a claim and understand exactly what parts of your needed repairs are covered.
- Be suspicious of solicitors who go door-to-door offering to make home repairs. Most con artists work this way.
- Work with companies that are known or recommended by someone you trust. Check a company's reputation with the St. Louis-area Better Business Bureau or Nixon's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222.
- Get at least two estimates in writing before choosing a contractor to repair your home or remove debris.
- Don't pay full price in advance for services you haven't yet received. Only make full payment when the terms of your agreement have been met.
- Watch for price gouging. It's a violation of Missouri law for merchants to raise prices on necessities to make excessive profits after a natural disaster.
Consumers who suspect price gouging or other fraud can file a complaint with the Attorney General's Office at ago.mo.gov, or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222.
Inquiries from consumers should be directed to email@example.com or 1-800-392-8222 (from within Missouri) or 573-751-3321 (outside Missouri).
All media inquiries should be directed to the Press Secretary.
E-mail Phone: 573-751-8844 Fax: 573-751-5818