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Attorney General's News Release

April 28, 2011

Attorney General Koster warns consumers about "storm chasers" scam

Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster today cautioned Missourians to be on the alert for “storm chasers” – companies that follow severe weather and try to contract with homeowners who have suffered storm or tornado damage to provide roofing and other repair services. Company representatives will typically go door to door in storm-damaged areas posing as recovery experts or contractors specializing in home repairs.

Koster warned consumers that the storm chasers will ask them to sign a contract allowing their company to negotiate with the homeowner’s insurance company. He said they generally use high-pressure sales tactics; ask for cash up front; may have out-of-state drivers licenses or plates; be unable to produce local references; and have no proof of workers’ compensation insurance. Often, they perform shoddy work, then leave the area, leaving the homeowner with little or no recourse.

“Storm chasers strike at a time when people are at their most vulnerable, trying to capitalize on the misfortunes of storm victims,” Koster said. “The elderly and disabled are particularly at risk because they may be unable to assess the damage to their homes themselves.”

Koster offered the following tips for consumers to avoid being scammed by the storm chasers:

  • Never enter into a contract quickly – review the contract and check with the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau for complaints
  • Ask for insurance and licensing information, and make sure the company has the proper work permits before work begins
  • Never pay cash up front before the job is completed
  • Always get a phone number and address for the company represented, and then check it out
  • Ask for local references and check with them about the work provided
  • If you notice out-of-state plates, logos on vehicles, etc., make note of the information

To report storm chasers to the Attorney General’s Office, submit a complaint form online or call the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222.



 
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