Georgians urged to guard against home repair fraud following severe weather

ATLANTA – Georgia’s Lawyer Typical and Insurance policy Commissioner are urging Ga citizens to guard versus property fix fraud and other ripoffs following the extreme weather conditions.

Release:

ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr and Coverage Commissioner John King are urging Ga people to guard towards property repair fraud and other frauds subsequent the occurrence of a tornado or any other intense storm.

“With fraud artists prepared to prey on vulnerable storm victims, we urge Georgians to speak to their coverage provider and extensively exploration a contractor in advance of choosing any person to make repairs,” said Carr. “Learning to recognize the symptoms of a fraud can help save consumers a good deal of dollars and heartache. We know the aftermath of critical weather can be difficult for all those impacted, and our Purchaser Protection Division stands prepared to help any Georgian who thinks they have encountered a property fix or storm-connected rip-off.”

“As a previous Chief of Law enforcement, I am all way too common with terrible actors hunting to choose gain of victims in the quick aftermath of a purely natural disaster,” claimed King. “Consumers should often be cautious of everyone who displays up providing repairs immediately soon after a storm and make positive to speak to their insurance plan business prior to signing any contracts. Our office environment is in this article to help solution queries about your policy or to guide you with finding a timely reaction from your insurance company.”

When undesirable storms or tornadoes bring about widespread harm to residences, criminals may possibly attempt to exploit the disaster. These rip-off artists, generally referred to as “storm chasers,” may inquire home owners for up-entrance payments for dwelling restore services and then disappear without having ever performing the perform. In other instances, scammers may cost exorbitant rates, cost you for unneeded repairs or do substandard perform. At times scammers give to cover the homeowner’s insurance policy deductible and persuade them to give pretend experiences to the insurance coverage corporation, most likely implicating the home owner in a scenario of insurance coverage fraud.

The Lawyer General’s Shopper Safety Division features the pursuing recommendations to individuals who are in need of residence mend do the job or tree-removing products and services: 

  • Stay away from doorway-to-doorway gives for household mend function. Instead, inquire mates and neighbors for referrals.
  • Steer clear of any contractor who asks for total payment up-entrance, only accepts payment in dollars, or who refuses to offer you with a created contract.
  • Inquire contractors for three references of consumers who experienced projects similar to yours, and look at them out.
  • Get penned bids from at the very least a few contractors. Be skeptical if the bid is as well lower. Much less expensive is not essentially far better.
  • Often insist on a agreement for function to be carried out, with all ensures, warranties and promises in creating. Agree on start and completion dates and have them penned into the contract.
  • In no way pay back for the full challenge in advance of the work commences. Look at shelling out no extra than a single-3rd of the overall value as a down payment, with remaining payments tied to completion of specified quantities of get the job done, and the ultimate payment not due right until the occupation is completed.
  • Be skeptical of any contractor that gives to shell out your insurance coverage deductible or delivers other no-cost incentives, as these can be symptoms of fraud. You ought to normally discuss to your insurance plan organization prior to committing to any repairs or even letting a roofer to examine your roof for any harm. Also be mindful that roofers are not permitted to file statements on their customers’ behalf except the roofer is (or employs) a licensed public adjuster to file its customers’ promises.
  • Examine with the Better Enterprise Bureau to see if there are any grievances in opposition to the business enterprise.
  • Make confident that the tree removing company has a valid arborist license by going to the International Society of Arboriculture’s website at www.isa-arbor.com
  • Make sure that common contractors, electricians, plumbers, and heating and air conditioning contractors are licensed by heading to the Secretary of State’s website at sos.ga.gov. Note that certain specialty occupations such as roofers, tree removing companies, painters, drywall contractors and repair handymen are not needed to be licensed by the condition.  
  • A reputable roofing enterprise or contractor should be able to offer the next:
    • Community references and testimonies
    • Organization license
    • Standard legal responsibility insurance policies
    • Staff payment insurance plan
    • Prepared producer warranties
    • Created labor warranties

If you assume that you could have been the sufferer of home maintenance fraud, make sure you make contact with the Legal professional General’s Buyer Protection Division by visiting purchaser.ga.gov or by contacting 404-651-8600 or 1-800-869-1123. 

If you believe a roofer or other contractor has fully commited insurance plan fraud, you can file a report with the Georgia Division of Coverage at oci.georgia.gov/report-suspected-fraud or by calling 404-656-2070 or 1-800-656-2298. 

People who have problems making get hold of with or receiving a timely reaction from their insurance plan corporation or who have thoughts about their insurance coverage coverage can also get in touch with 1-800-656-2298 or visit oci.georgia.gov

Normally continue to be weather conditions-informed with these beneficial tips from the Georgia Crisis Management and Homeland Stability Agency: https://gema.georgia.gov/approach-prepare/alerts-and-warnings.