CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is urging residents faced with damage following the line of storms that brought strong winds and heavy rain in certain parts of the state Monday night to be cautious when hiring a contractor to make repairs.
“Strong winds and heavy rain caused varying degrees of damage in some parts of West Virginia,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Consumers will begin surveying damage as the storms subside. However, so will scammers who often prey upon those already facing hardship. Consumers must cautiously research any contractor they consider hiring.”
Scam artists often will canvas neighborhoods and offer to repair damaged property with deals that seem too good to be true. At times, they will imply they are working on nearby homes or suggest they are with a bank or insurance company.
All too often, the money is paid without completion of the work.
Many times scammers fail to provide contact information such as a contractor’s license, business card or other identification, and they use high-pressure sales tactics to force immediate purchases.
The Attorney General is asking residents to take their time, research options and be very careful before hiring anyone to do work. Here are a few suggested tips:
- Evaluate the size and scope of the project.
- Get written estimates from multiple companies.
- Research companies that repair storm damage.
- Ask for references to verify the contractor’s prior work.
- Look for reviews of the company on trusted websites.
- Check to see if the contractor has a valid license by contacting the West Virginia Contractor Licensing Board at 304-558-7890.
Additionally, state law requires contractors to allow the consumer five days to cancel roofing contracts, as opposed to the three-day period for door-to-door sales, without penalty for any portion of repairs not covered by the consumer’s insurance policy. The consumer must also notify the contractor in writing of the cancelation. The written notice can be via email, letter or return of the company’s notice of cancelation. The clock begins with the consumer’s receipt of the insurance notice.
Anyone with questions or a potential storm-related home repair scam should call the Consumer Protection Division at 800-368-8808 or the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office at 304-267-0239. To file a report online, visit www.wvago.gov.