Attorney General's News Release
December 10, 2007
Nixon warns consumers to watch for fraud, price gouging after ice storm
Jefferson City, Mo. — Bursting pipes, downed trees, wrecked cars and high prices may be among the results of this weekend's ice storm, and Attorney General Jay Nixon is reminding consumers to look out for law breakers and con artists.
“Unfortunately, after a storm like this, we can count on the con artists coming out of the woodwork even before the ice thaws,” Nixon said. “Consumers need to avoid doing business with strangers and watch for price gouging, which is against the law.”
Consumers may need supplies like gasoline, generators, firewood, bottled water and other necessities because of the power outages. Once the ice melts and power is restored, home repair contractors and tree limb and debris removal companies will be busy. Nixon offers this advice for consumers to avoid getting ripped off:
- 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 at Nixon's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222, or the Know MO link at the Attorney General’s Web site, ago.mo.gov.
- Get at least two estimates in writing before choosing a contractor to repair your home or remove debris.
- Don't pay full price 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.
Visit Know MO to search consumer complaints filed with the Attorney General
Inquiries from consumers should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org 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