Attorney General Pruitt Warns of Repair Schemes and Scams Following Rare April Ice Storm
OKLAHOMA CITY – Attorney General Scott Pruitt Thursday cautioned residents about scams and repair schemes following the storm system that left parts of the state ice-covered with downed trees and power lines.
“We often see a rise in repair fraud following storms that leave extensive damage,” Pruitt said. “We want to get the word out about these schemes and scams before Oklahomans become victims.”
Attorney General Pruitt said with extensive tree damage, Oklahomans may see scams involving clean-up, tree trimming and removal.
“With storm damage of any type, we want to get our areas repaired and cleaned quickly, but we urge everyone to be cautious when hiring workers, and to make sure they are from a reputable company,” Pruitt said. “Following storms, our Public Protection Unit often has to prosecute dishonest repair services, frequently referred to as travelers, who follow storms looking to make a profit off of other’s misfortune.”
Attorney General Pruitt suggests the following tips for choosing tree trimming and storm removal companies:
· Ask friends and family members for referrals;
· Try to use local companies whenever possible;
· Ask if they have certification and insurance;
· Check out the company with the Attorney General’s Public Protection Unit and the Better Business Bureau;
· Ask for references;
· Get written estimates from several companies;
· Never do business without a written contract;
· Get all guarantees, warranties and promises in writing;
· Have start and completion dates written into the contract.
The Attorney General cautioned Oklahomans to be wary of workers who:
· Solicit work door-to-door;
· Offer discounts for finding other customers;
· “Just happen to have” materials left over from a previous job;
· Accept only cash payments;
· Pressure you for an immediate decision;
· Asks you to pay for the entire job up-front.
With the spring storm season just beginning Oklahomans need to remain vigilant to prevent these scams and schemes.
For more tips and resources, go online to www.oag.ok.gov/oagweb.nsf/Consumer or visit the Attorney General’s Facebook Page. To report possible fraud, contact the Public Protection Unit by email at PublicProtection@oag.ok.gov or by telephone at (405) 521-2029.
The AG’s Public Protection Unit protects consumers from fraudulent, unfair or deceptive business practices and can provide conciliation services to help resolve complaints against businesses.
Oklahoma Disaster Scam Prevention Packet.pdf