(Phoenix, Ariz.) Attorney General Terry Goddard is warning Arizonans to be wary of unsolicited contractors coming to your door and offering help with repairs or clean-up related to this week's strong storms across Arizona.
“From the tornadoes that touched down around Flagstaff to the golf ball-size hail that fell in parts of Phoenix, these were unusually powerful storms that damaged many homes and vehicles," Goddard said. "We know from past experience that scam artists will try to take advantage of people coping with damage to their property. I urge residents to be extremely careful if they are approached by an unsolicited contractor or anyone else offering to make repairs."
Some unsolicited contractors will claim to have extra materials because they are doing working in the neighborhood. The pitch to the homeowner includes a “discounted” price for materials so the contractor won’t have to throw materials away. Typically, the homeowner is given a verbal quote, but never a written estimate for the job. The unsolicited contractor will do the work, and in some cases without the homeowner’s consent, will do additional work.
After the job is complete, the contractor gives the customer final bill that is much higher than the price originally quoted. The person demands immediate payment and in some cases refuse to leave, making the consumer feel pressured into paying in full.
Goddard offers the following tips when choosing a contractor or repair person:
? Shop around. Ask for written estimates from at least three people.
? Request a list of references and check them before agreeing to hire anyone.
? Check with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors [ www.azroc.gov ] to make sure the contractor you are considering has a license.
? Make sure the scope of the project, the price and any other relevant terms are spelled out in a written contract.
? Never allow yourself to be hurried into making a decision. No reputable contractor will try to pressure you into hiring them.
If residents are approached by people who appear to be repair scam artists, please report them to the Attorney General’s Office by visiting the Web site at www.azag.gov and submitting an online “Consumer Complaint” or calling the Office at 602.542.5763 in Phoenix; 520.628.6504 in Tucson; or 1.800.352.8431 outside the Phoenix and Tucson metro areas.
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