FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jackson, MS—Attorney General Hood today is warning consumers that home repair fraud occurs all throughout the year, not just following storms and emergency situations.
“Most consumers are on their guard dealing with contractors in the wake of an emergency,” said Attorney General Hood. “But, con artists will take advantage of any opportunity they come across.”
One of the more recent scams investigated by the Attorney General’s Office involves consumers trying to clean out air ducts in their homes. You may get a free or low cost inspection, but then the contractor claims to find mold or rodents in the home and gives a much more costly estimate for treatment.
“There are plenty of legitimate businesses in our state who will do right by consumers, but there are also plenty of con-artists who move state to state scamming folks,” said Attorney General Hood. “For your own protection, you have to approach everything and everyone with skepticism. Always get a second opinion and estimate on any job. Don’t be afraid to ask for and check references on any contractor you are thinking about doing business with. The time you spend up front could save you on the back end.”
Here are some guidelines, recommended by the Attorney General, to always consider before contracting for any type of home repair job:
• Get at least three estimates (bids). Be certain each contractor bids on exactly the same work. ALL bids should be itemized and detailed.
• Get a guarantee from the contractor in writing.
• Know with whom you are dealing and verify the contractor’s address. Request and check references. Inspect work done for others when possible. Check contractor’s licensing/bonding.
• Beware of contractor’s who just show up at your door searching for work.
Anyone who feels they may have been “duped” by an unscrupulous contractor should contact the Attorney General’s Office, Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418.