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 recent severe thunderstorms.
Governor Steve Beshear declared a State of Emergency in Kentucky and local States of Emergency have been issued in 13 counties and the city of Richmond. Disaster officials report a tornado touched down in Madison County that killed two people, injured eight and damaged 150 homes. More than 40 Kentucky National Guard troops have been deployed to Madison County, and 60 troops are in Breathitt, Knott, Floyd, Pike and Owsley counties where residents have experienced significant flooding.
"My thoughts and prayers are with families who lost loved ones and those who’ve had their homes destroyed by these terrifying storms," Conway said. "Those who are victims of these storms should not be victimized again by criminals who are preying on the widespread devastation."
Conway warns that consumers needing work done quickly to repair storm-damaged homes and property are at risk 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, impersonating officials, and loan scams. Conway is urging consumers to report any incidents of possible fraud by calling the Consumer Hotline at 1-888-432-9257 or by filing 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 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. 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.