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Attorney General Jackley Warns Scam Contractors with Summer Storm Damage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:   July 20, 2017    
CONTACT:  Sara Rabern (605) 773-3215   

PIERRE S.D. – Attorney General Marty Jackley urges consumers who have been hit with storm damage across the State to proceed with caution when working to get homes, vehicles, and businesses repaired.
Residents will understandably be eager to have new construction or the necessary work done to their damaged property, but consumers are urged to take the necessary steps to evaluate a bidder before contracting for a job. Consumers who need repair work done quickly following storm damage are often targets of unscrupulous business practices.  
 
“While the vast number of contractors follows legitimate business practices, there are a handful that seek to take an unfair advantage of disastrous conditions,” said Jackley. “We encourage consumers to take the extra time to evaluate and secure the right contractor to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.”
 Here are a few suggestions when choosing professional contactors:
 
• Take the time to evaluate the bidder before contracting the job.
• Homeowners should look for a reliable contractor with a proven track record who readily offers credentials.
• Ask for references. Legitimate contractors should be more than willing to provide a list of satisfied customers to verify their work.
• Ask for a written estimate and a written contract.
• Ask for sales tax license.
• Keep a copy of the final, signed contract. Read this contact carefully before signing. This contract will usually be binding once you have both agreed to it. The contract should state that any changes in the project should include a Change Order signed by both and put guarantees in writing. Any guarantees made by the contractor should be written into the contract.
• Obtain a local building permit, if required.
• Make final payments only after the work is completed. Do not sign completion papers or make the final payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
• Pay by check. Avoid on-the-spot cash payments. The safest route is to write a check to the contracting company.

If you have questions regarding price gouging or transient contractors contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986 or at consumerhelp@state.sd.us.

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