For Immediate Release - March 31, 2010

Attorney General Martha Coakley Cautions Homeowners Beware of Home Repair Scams in Light of Recent Floods

BOSTON - Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley cautioned victims of the 2010 floods to do their homework when selecting contractors to repair the water damage to their properties, to avoid becoming a victim of a scam.

"Today, most of the state for the second time is dealing with the damage from these unprecedented storms," said Attorney General Coakley. "While many people have banded together through this difficult time, there are also unsavory individuals seeking to capitalize on this situation, and we urge consumers to do their homework when picking a contractor to fix their homes."

The Attorney General's Office offers the following advice for homeowners:

  • Make sure that the person you are dealing with is a licensed contractor affiliated with a legitimate business.
  • Ask for references-names of satisfied customers who can tell you about the business. Ask a neighbor, friend or co-worker for the name of a business they have used.
  • Check for a history of complaints with the Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau.
  • Obtain a written contract or estimate describing the work to be done, the price and estimated date of completion.
  • You should not pay more than one third the cost of the project at the inception of the contract, with another third due half way through the project and the balance paid when the work is completed to your satisfaction.
  • If you think you have been the victim of a scam, call the Attorney General's Office and file a complaint. The Attorney General's Website also offers tips for how to understand and get the most out of their insurance policy and how to select a home improvement contractor.

To check the history of a business or to file a complaint about a scam, the Attorney General's Office urges you to contact its consumer hotline at (617) 727-8400 or file a complaint online at www.mass.gov/ago/consumercomplaint.

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