Helpful Tips for Disaster Victims

When a disaster strikes our State, thousands of residents may suffer property damage. Of course, after the disaster comes the clean-up, and during this period, con artists may attempt to take advantage of severe weather victims. By heeding the following tips, you can avoid being a victim.

Home Repairs

  • Beware of door-to-door solicitors selling home-repair work. To find someone reputable, ask friends or family who have recently used a home-repair contractor or professional. Consider contacting the Arkansas Contractor’s Licensing Board to verify that the contractor is licensed and has not had any complaints filed against it.
  • Avoid any home-repair solicitor who asks for an upfront payment or who will not provide you with a written contract.
  • Get at least three written estimates. A reputable contractor or professional will never try to pressure you to obtain your business.
  • Obtain and check at least three references from your contractor or professional.
  • Check with the Attorney General’s Office or the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company has a complaint history.
  • Obtain a written and detailed contract that includes the grade , quality, name brand and quantity of any materials to be used. The name and address of the contractor must be on the contract.
  • Avoid paying for the entire job up front. One-third paid in advance, one-third paid halfway through the job, and one-third paid upon completion is a better plan, helping assure that your project will be completed. Never make the final payment until you have had an opportunity to inspect the work.
  • Remember that all contracts resulting from a home-solicitation sale generally must include a buyer’s right to cancel within three business days after the contract is signed.
  • Make sure all warranties and guarantees are in writing.

Home Improvement Scams

  • Beware of “home improvement” loan scams, in which the scammer offers to arrange financing or offers to fill out a disaster loan application for a fee.
  • Beware of anyone who offers to inflate the amount of your disaster damage assessment.
  • Be suspicious of anyone who solicits your personal information, such as social security and bank account numbers.
  • Never sign any document without fully reading and understanding it. If you don’t understand something, ask for an explanation.
  • Shop for the best financing if you are financing the cost of the repairs.

When it comes to disasters, we’ve got your back, Arkansas.