July 13, 2011
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today visited the Resource, Recovery and Rebuilding Center in Joplin to review the number and nature of complaints his staff has received since opening a mobile office following the May tornado. Koster has had staff on site to assist people who have questions or concerns about consumer issues, such as mortgage counseling, price gouging, identity theft, and contractor or debris-removal scams.
“Our staff in Joplin have received nearly 300 consumer complaints from Joplin storm survivors, and the numbers change hourly,” Koster said. “It’s an incredibly unfortunate reality that there are people who see this kind of tragedy as an opportunity to profit from the victims’ misfortune. We will investigate every complaint, and we will take action against those who are breaking the law.”
Koster said currently the top five complaint categories are:
The open cases are still under investigation. To date, Koster has filed three lawsuits related to the Joplin tornado: two lawsuits against towing companies and a price-gouging lawsuit against a landlord for unfairly raising tenants’ rates.
In addition to helping victims with consumer fraud issues, staff also help in other areas such as helping people communicate with their banks and assist in getting identity documents replaced that were lost in the storm.