Warnings Issued to South Dakotans About New Scams
Recent severe weather in South Dakota has left a number of people picking up the pieces.
From softball sized hail in the Pierre area to reports of tornadoes in Stanley County and 100 mile per hour wind gusts in Lyman County, there is quite a bit of damage to contend with.
That's also opening the door for potential scammers to take advantage of South Dakotans looking for help.
In response, South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley has issued a warning to consumers about home and roof repair scams that have surfaced due to the recent storms.
In a press release, Jackley said:
'The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division is already receiving complaints from the public saying they have been contacted by repair companies that have popped up overnight. While we understand the urgency to get your homes or vehicles fixed in the most expedient manner, I would ask that you do not rush into making a decision regarding these repairs, no matter how good the deal seems, or that you are promised that you are in the top five of the order to have your repairs made.'
The Consumer Protection Division suggests taking the following precautions when dealing with storm repair companies:
- Do not be pressured into a quick agreement.
- Request a written contract specifying in detail the work to be done and the agreed upon price.
- Be cautious if cash-only terms are required.
- Do not make full payment before the job is satisfactorily completed.
- Ask for local references and call these references to make sure they were satisfied.
- Get bids from other companies to compare prices.
- Consumers typically have a three day right to cancel on door-to-door sales contracts.
- Sellers must provide the consumer with a copy of the contract or receipt at the time of the sale. This receipt must show the date of the sale, the name and address of the merchant, and a statement to the buyer of his or her right to cancel the contact within three days.
- Remember that a legitimate offer does not require you to have the work done immediately.
- Ask to see their current South Dakota tax license. State law requires all persons selling products or services to have a current South Dakota sales or contractors’ excise tax license. Remember that even though they may have this license it does not mean that you will be able to locate them once the work is done.
- Be cautious when allowing a company to negotiate with your insurance company.
If you have questions or concerns, you can contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-300-1986 or via e-mail.