OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Attorney General Drew Edmondson is giving tips on avoiding home repair scams when Oklahomans rebuild from last weekend's storms. "The wind and rain carried with them enormous damage," Edmondson said Monday. "These storms can also carry with them the potential for home repair fraud."Ask people you trust for referrals.
He said property owners should be alert for several clues that might indicate a less than reputable repairman. For instance, he said they should be wary of anyone who solicits door-to-door, offers discounts for finding other customers or "just happens to have" materials left over from a previous job. Also, Edmondson said to be suspicious of a repairman who accepts only cash payments, pressures you for an immediate decision or asks you to pay for the entire job upfront.
The attorney general provided the following tips:
Whenever possible, deal with local firms with roots in the community.
Check out the repairman with the attorney general's Consumer Protection Unit and the Better Business Bureau.
Ask for customer references.
Get written estimates from several firms.
Don't do business without a written contract.
Get all guarantees, warranties and promises in writing.
Agree on start and completion dates and have them written into the contract.
"For most Oklahomans, their home is their greatest investment," Edmondson said. "The financial and emotional strain of losing a home is bad enough; don't compound the damage by falling victim to a scam."
Edmondson's consumer division investigates and prosecutes consumer fraud. Those who suspect fraud can call the unit at 405-521-2029.