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MO Attorney General Issues Advisory On “Storm Chasers” Looking To Profit Off Your Damage

All News RSS Feed Crime State News Top Stories Thursday, July 20th, 2023

In the wake of this past weekend’s heavy rains, flooding and other storm damage across the state, Missourians are being warned to be on the lookout for “storm chasers.”

Attorney General Andrew Bailey’s office says that these “storm chasers” (not the meteorologists on TV) will typically go door-to-door offering to provide repairs or other services and then provide shoddy work or no work at all after collecting upfront payments for the work.

Bailey’s office also says, if you suspect you are getting scammed, there are several precautionary steps you can take to minimize that chance including, the most obvious, don’t pay for the work upfront.

You can also contact your insurance company, seek recommendations from others you can trust and get three written estimates for the work.

When in doubt, according to A-G’s office, contact the A-G’s consumer protection hotline or file a report with local law enforcement.


Full Details:

Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey today warned consumers to be alert for possible “storm-chasers” following the heavy rains and flooding across Missouri over the weekend.

“I want to educate Missourians on potential scams that arise in the wake of serious storms like the ones that ripped through the Kansas City area a few days ago,” Attorney General Bailey said.  “All Missourians who experience storm or flooding damage should be on the alert for storm-chasers, while also knowing that the Attorney General’s Office is a resource for them. We will pursue anyone who attempts to take advantage of Missourians who suffered in the aftermath of these storms.”

Storm-chasers typically go door-to-door offering to provide repairs or clean-up services to victims.  The often claim to be recovery experts or contractors specializing in flood repairs.  In reality, they provide shoddy or no work after they take a consumer’s up-front payment, and then flee the area, leaving the homeowner with little or no recourse.

Storm-chasers generally use high-pressure sales tactics, ask for cash up-front, and may try to convince consumers to sign a contract allowing their company to negotiate with the homeowner’s insurance company directly.  Storm-chasers often have out-of-state driver’s licenses or license plates and are not able to produce local references or prove they have the licenses or bonds required by the municipality or county.

Attorney General Bailey offers the following tips to avoid becoming the victim of storm-chasers and other scam contractors:

  • Do not pay for work up-front. Inspect the work and make sure you are satisfied before you pay. A reasonable down-payment may be required for some projects, but don’t pay anything without getting a written contract. Avoid paying with cash; use a check or a credit card instead.
  • Beware of any contractor who tries to rush you or who comes to your home to solicit work. If an offer is “only good now or never,” find someone else to perform the work.
  • Contact your insurance company. Some insurance companies require an adjuster’s approval before work can be done. Take pictures and videos of the damage, if possible. Cover holes in your roof or walls with a tarp to prevent additional damage if you can do so safely.
  • Seek recommendations from friends, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had work performed on their homes in the past.  Do not hire any person without asking for, and checking, references.
  • Get three written estimates for the work, if possible, and compare bids. Check credentials and contact the Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the contractor. Before work begins, make sure you get a written contract detailing all the work to be performed, its costs and a projected completion date.

Consumers with questions about a contractor or who wish to file a consumer complaint should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222 or online at ago.mo.gov

All News RSS Feed Crime State News Top Stories Thursday, July 20th, 2023

Reporter Mike Anthony