AG warns against storm-related scams, price gouging

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – In a press release Tuesday, Attorney General Jack Conway warned that scam artists and storm-related price-gouging would not be tolerated.

According to the release, Gov. Steve Beshear triggered several price-gouging provisions to protect those affected by the storm when he declared a state of emergency Tuesday.  The provisions allow the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute businesses that provide storm-related services and goods at grossly increased prices.  The provisions will remain in effect for 30 days.

"Be assured, my office stands ready to investigate and prosecute anyone who seeks excessive profits during emergency situations," says Conway in the release. "Those who have fallen victim to these storms should not be victimized again by unscrupulous price-gougers and scam artists."

The Attorney General’s office also released these tips and reminders for dealing with businesses and individuals while affecting storm repairs:

•Never pay in advance for repair work or materials. 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.

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