Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Warns Kentuckians About Storm Scams
Attorney General Jack Conway today reminded victims of recent flooding in Eastern Kentucky that the Office of the Attorney General has an office in Prestonsburg to assist citizens with any consumer protection complaints they might have related to the storms. The office is located at 361 North Lake Dr., and the phone number is (606) 889-1821.
Flooding and abnormally high water levels throughout both Eastern and Western Kentucky have caused extensive property damage and continued road closures, as well as food and water safety risks.
This has prompted Gov. Steve Beshear to declare a state of emergency that covers counties in Eastern and Western Kentucky. The Governor also triggered Kentucky’s price-gouging provisions to protect consumers from being overcharged on necessities or cleanup supplies.
“I hope this puts businesses on notice that we will not tolerate people trying to take advantage of our citizens during this difficult time as they try to protect their property, cleanup from the storms and repair the damage,” General Conway said.
Attorney General Conway also noted that staff members from his office are working with officials in affected counties to assist them in establishing contractor registration programs. These programs require all home repair contractors to register with the counties in order to deter fly-by-night companies.
Conway warns that consumers needing work done quickly to repair storm-damaged homes and property are at risk falling victim to unscrupulous contractors, also known as "storm chasers." Common natural disaster scams include outright fraud, shoddy construction, price gouging, charity scams, impersonating officials, and loan scams.
Citizens in Eastern Kentucky can visit the satellite Office of the Attorney General for assistance or they can call the Consumer Hotline that is available to all consumers across the Commonwealth at 1-888-432-9257. People needing assistance may also file a consumer complaint report online at www.ag.ky.gov.
Attorney General Conway provides the following tips to consumers needing storm repair or clean up services:
- Never pay in advance for repair work or materials. Scam artists often take advance payments from consumers and never return to complete the work. If an advance is needed to purchase materials, offer to purchase the materials yourself;
- Use local, reputable contractors for repairs, if possible. If local contractors bring in out-of-town workers, ask who will be responsible for their work if it is not satisfactory;
- Ask if the contractor is licensed, bonded (if required by the city or county), and insured;
- Check unknown companies out with the Better Business Bureau (Louisville/Western KY 1-800-388-2222; Lexington/Eastern KY 1-800-866-6668) or call the Consumer Protection Division 1-888-432-9257 to see if information is available about the company;
- Demand a written contract. If possible, get estimates from several contractors;
- Be suspicious of unfamiliar, out-of-state vehicles and those who offer repair work at unreasonably low prices. Contact local law enforcement about your suspicions.
Mold remediation is also a concern for victims of flooding. For more information visit http://chfs.ky.gov/news/flood+mold+food09.htm.