August 15, 2016- As homeowners throughout South Louisiana assess flood damage, officials are warning of the potential onslaught of scammers posing as contractors.
The Acadiana Better Business Bureau calls them “storm chasers” – out-of-town opportunists who will offer construction services that are either fraudulent or unlicensed.
In some cases, these scammers will solicit door-to-door in flood-affected neighborhoods, said Ginger Dykes, event coordinator for the Acadian Home Builders Association.
Several agencies started issuing scam warnings on Sunday after flood waters reached historic levels.
“We unfortunately see it a lot after natural disasters. We wanted to make sure that everyone is aware of the risk,” Dykes told The Daily Advertiser. “It’s very common after a natural disaster for people to come in, basically out of the woodwork, from all over the state. It’s a problem. They are not licensed to do work in the state. They are not insured. Of course there are some of them who will fix your house and then you have the ones who will take your money and just never show up again.”
Both the state and regional homeowners associations, along with the Better Business Bureau, are urging residents to take cautionary steps to find a reputable contractor.
Their tips include getting at least three estimates and making sure quotes and contract are in writing, resisting strong-arm tactics when arranging an agreement and never paying for a job in advance.
Acadian Home Builders Association President David Anderson advised residents not to never rush into repairs, no matter “how badly your home is damaged.”
Always make sure the contractor is licensed in the state of Louisiana. According to state law, a company or individual carrying out home repairs, improvements or renovations between $1,500 and $75,000 must be registered with the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors.
The Acadian Home Builders Association is providing updated information and tips in its page http://acadianhba.com/for-consumers/. Residents can also check for contractor licensing at www.lacontractor.org or by calling 1-800-256-1392.
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