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Attorney General Jason R. Ravnsborg

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ATTORNEY GENERAL, CONSUMER PROTECTION AND DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE URGE CAUTION WHEN DOING BUSINESS WITH TRANSIENT VENDORS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, March 30, 2020

PIERRE, S.D. – Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg, the Division of Consumer Protection and the South Dakota Department of Revenue warn consumers to be wary of transient vendors once again.
“Don’t be taken advantage of this year,” cautioned Ravnsborg. “Make sure vendors are legitimate before doing business with them by asking for proof of a South Dakota business tax license.  A majority of these contractors are legitimate, but there is always a handful seeking to take advantage of the current situation.”
Even with the current social distancing throughout the state and nation, the Department of Revenue is receiving calls about vendor licensing.  It is vitally important for consumers to do their due diligence to ensure that they do not become the victim of a scam.
Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when dealing with a transient vendor:
• Homeowners should look for a reliable contractor with a proven track record who readily offers credentials.
• Ask for references. Legitimate vendors should be more than willing to provide a list of satisfied customers to verify their work.
• Ask for the details in writing.
• Ask for sales tax or contractor’s excise tax license.
• Obtain a local permit, if required.
• Ask for a price quote in advance and in writing.
• Question the contractor about a permanent address and telephone number. If the information they provide is local, do not assume they are a local business. Transient vendors often have business cards printed with local mailing services or motel addresses and telephone numbers.
• Ask for a list of local references and check them before making a decision.
• Be careful about paying for work in advance. Before making final payments, make sure transient vendors have paid their local suppliers or you may be held liable for unpaid materials.
• Pay by check. Avoid on-the-spot cash payments. The safest route is to write a check to the contracting company not an individual.
If you have questions regarding transient vendors contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-300-1986, email at consumerhelp@state.sd.us or call the South Dakota Department of Revenue’s toll-free helpline at 800-829-9188, press “1” for the business tax division.

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The Office of the Attorney General is the chief legal office for the State of South Dakota and provides legal advice to agencies, boards, and commissions of the State as well as representing the State in state and federal court.  The Office of Attorney General also handles prosecutions, felony criminal appeals, civil matters, consumer protection issues, and issues formal opinions interpreting statutes for agencies of the state.  Visit www.atg.sd.gov to learn more.

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CONTACT: Tim Bormann, Chief of Staff, (605) 773-3215