Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Conway Provides Consumer Information for Kentucky Storm Victims
Attorney General Jack Conway today provided information to consumers who are victims of the recent ice storm. Twenty four people in Kentucky have lost their lives as a result of the storm. Governor Steve Beshear declared a state of emergency for the Commonwealth and Kentucky is under a federal emergency declaration. More than 92 counties and 73 cities are affected by the disaster declarations.
“My thoughts and prayers are with the hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians who have been without power since last week,” General Conway said. “Not only have our neighbors been struggling to stay warm, they are also dealing with downed trees, damage to their homes from falling limbs, and flooding as a result of the melting ice.”
Conway warns that consumers needing repair work done quickly to fix storm-damaged homes and property are at risk of falling victim to unscrupulous fly-by-night contractors, also known as "storm chasers." Common natural disaster scams include outright fraud, shoddy construction, price gouging, charity scams, scam artists impersonating officials, and loan scams. Conway is urging consumers to call the Consumer Hotline at 1-888-432-9257 to report any incidents of possible fraud, price gouging or shoddy construction work and repair.
“Those who’ve suffered because of this catastrophic storm should not be victimized again by criminals who are preying on their plight,” General Conway said.
Attorney General Conway provides the following tips to consumers needing storm repair or clean up services:
- Never pay in advance for labor. 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 and ask for references. Contact references to see if they were satisfied with the contractor. 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.
Attorney General Conway and Gov. Steve Beshear worked together to trigger Kentucky’s price-gouging protections after the state of emergency was declared last week.
Since that time, the Office of the Attorney General has received 241 complaints by phone or email. The complaints range from gasoline and kerosene to hotels and generators.
To report price gouging, you may contact the Office of the Attorney General at 1-888-432-9257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you believe you’ve witnessed or been the victim of price gouging, please email digital photos and any receipts you may have. This will assist investigators who are looking into each complaint.
“I understand many folks may be without power or Internet access, but hang onto those receipts and email them in when the power comes back on or when you’re able to use a computer at your local library,” General Conway said.