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8 Tips for Avoiding Sandy Repair Scams

How to avoid a contracting scam

Pennsylvania residents should be on guard against Superstorm Sandy-related home repair scams.

Unqualified contractors, high-pressure sales pitches and price gouging are on the upswing – and unwary homeowners are paying the price.

The situation has prompted state Attorney General Linda Kelly to issue a consumer warning:

“Natural disasters can be a magnet for scam artists and unscrupulous operators who are more interested in taking money from storm victims than in helping with repairs,” Kelly said. “Consumers should remain vigilant, understand their rights and carefully evaluate any contractors they hire to repair homes or to address other storm damage.

“It is understandable for homeowners to look for speedy repairs, attempting to return to normal activities as quickly as possible, but consumers should not allow the desire for immediate repairs to cloud their judgment regarding contractors.”

Following are 8 tips to avoid falling prey to a shady shingle or siding company:

  • Ask all contractors to give you their state registration number, which must be included in all contracts, estimates and advertisements.
  • Demand a written contract for any project costing more than $500; this should include details about materials and labor, the total cost, and a specific start date and end date of the project.
  • Know that you have a three-day right to cancel any home improvement contract.
  • Contact a qualified Pennsylvania lawyer if you suffer financial loss; compensation might be available if you act quickly.
  • Get multiple estimates and check references before committing to a major project.
  • Turn away unsolicited door-to-door sales pitches or contractors who just “happened to be in the neighborhood.”
  • Turn down any requests for a large up-front payment.
  • Report problems to the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection by going to www.attorneygeneral.gov and clicking on the “Complaints” button on the first page of the website.

Talk With A Pennsylvania Consumer Protection Lawyer

If you have a legal issue that has arisen as a result of Superstorm Sandy, we are offering free consultations. Call 877-763-2343 to speak with an experienced Pennsylvania consumer protection attorney. Or use this contact form.

Source: Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/press.aspx?id=6702

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