The Federal Trade Commission has issued a Consumer Alert, “After a Disaster: Repairing Your Home,” that warns consumers of potential “home repair rip-off artists” who may overcharge, perform shoddy work, or skip town without finishing the job. After a natural disaster, the demand for qualified contractors usually exceeds the supply. Because many legitimate companies are booked for months, frustrated consumers may not take the necessary precautions when hiring contractors.
The alert, available at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt030.shtm, urges consumers looking to repair their homes after a natural disaster to follow these tips:
If you suspect a repair rip-off, call the consumer division of your state attorney general. If you suspect fraud, waste, or abuse involving Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance programs, report it to FEMA’s Inspector General’s Office.
To order copies of this or other FTC Consumer Alerts, visit www.ftc.gov/bcp/online/pubs.bulkordr.htm. The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint, or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure online database available for hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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