Beware of scams after disasters

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned Texans of the risk of fraud and common scams in the wake of severe weather, tornadoes and flooding that began on May 4, 2015, and has continued at least through Memorial Day weekend, impacting communities across the state.

Attorney General Paxton advises Texans to consider the following tips when in need of businesses or contractors to help in the clean-up and rebuilding process:

Only do business with licensed or bonded contractors or builders;

Consult the Better Business Bureau to ensure you are working with a trustworthy business. link

Contact an insurance adjuster to get an estimate of the damage and repair cost;

Be wary of contractors who solicit services doorto door, especially those that are unfamiliar or from out of town;

Know that under Texas law, the door-to-door seller must advise you orally and in writing that you have a right to cancel the sale within three days. Click here for more information. link

Get the salesperson’s license plate number;

Don’t rush into signing a contract, and never pay up-front for promised work;

Secure the terms of any warranty work in writing; an dAsk for references, or rely on recommendations from friends or relatives who have had experience with honest contractors.

Although Texas’ price gouging law prohibits vendors from illegally raising prices to reap exorbitant profits during a disaster, it does allow retailers to pass along wholesale price increases to customers. Thus, in some cases, increased prices may not necessarily signal illegal price gouging.

Texans in affected counties who believe they have encountered price gouging should call the Office of the Attorney General’s toll-free complaint line at (800) 621- 0508 or file a complaint online at www.texasattorneygeneral. gov.

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