From The Trussville Tribune staff reports
MONTGOMERY — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall is warning the public about home repair scams in the aftermath of storm or tornado outbreaks. This comes after strong storms and a tornado wreaked havoc in north Alabama and damaged infrastructure in Jacksonville.
Marshall held a press conference along with the Home Builders Licensure Board, the Home Builders Association of Alabama; the State Fire Marshall, Strengthen Alabama Homes Division of the Alabama Department of Insurance; and the Alabama Emergency Management Agency. He addressed risks of scams that come after storms hit where unlicensed builders may offer to help for money.
“The good people of Alabama are strong and determined, and we come together in times of crisis such as this,” he said. “In the devastation left by these storms, there is much rebuilding to be done. As we move forward, it is important that consumers are mindful that unscrupulous people may seek to take advantage of their misfortune.
To those who have suffered damage, we urge you to take precautions for your protection, and to those who would take advantage of this disaster, we warn that home repair fraud is a serious crime that will not be tolerated.”
Marshall outlined several precautions that citizens can take to avoid frauds:
- Find out as much as you can when a builder offers repairs
- Ask for proof of insurance or bond
- Ask to see their license. Licenses are required by the Home Builders Licensure Board.
- Ask if the job requires a permit
- Obtain written statements
- Ask for references
- Require a written contract
- Never make full or substantial payments up front
- Make sure you have all of their contact information
Anyone who feels that they’re victims of fraud can call the Attorney General’s office at toll-free 1-800-392-5658, by writing to 501 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama, 36130, or though the Attorney General’s website at www.ago.alabama.gov.