*****CONSUMER ALERT*****CONSUMER ALERT*****
MADIGAN WARNS RESIDENTS TO REMAIN ALERT FOR “STORM CHASERS” AFTER SEVERE STORMS, FLOODS IN CHICAGO
Attorney General Investigators to Look Into Repair-Related Complaints
Chicago — Following the severe storms and flooding that hit the Chicago area this week, Attorney General Lisa Madigan urged area residents to be on alert for home repair con artists looking to exploit homeowners and local businesses needing repairs due to storm-related damage.
Madigan warned of home repair scammers who are known to move into affected areas to take advantage of people rushing to secure their property and make repairs. Madigan noted that these “storm chasers” try to catch people off guard to pressure them into making a quick, often expensive, decision. Madigan encouraged local residents and business owners to call the Consumer Fraud Hotline (1-800-386-5438) to report any suspicious activity. Investigators with her office will look into complaints received about area contractors.
“In the wake of the heavy rains and severe flooding that hit Chicago this week, many area residents and business owners have suffered significant property damage,” Madigan said. “I encourage people to use caution as they start the daunting cleanup process and to be on the lookout for potential scammers moving into the area to try to take advantage of the situation.”
Attorney General Madigan recommended verifying that contractors have the necessary insurance and required permits, and she encouraged taking extra caution before making any decisions to repair or rebuild damaged or destroyed property and avoid rushing into signing a contract or making a down payment.
Madigan offered these additional tips that can assist families and businesses from being duped by dishonest contractors:
Attorney General Madigan reminded consumers that the Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to furnish customers with written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000. A contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor.
The law also requires contractors to carry at least minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury and improper home repair. Contractors also must provide consumers with an informational pamphlet entitled “Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights.”
More information on consumer scams can be found at www.IllinoisAttorneyGeneral.gov. If consumers suspect storm chasers are attempting to scam residents in their area, Attorney General Madigan urged Chicago area residents and business owners to call the Consumer Fraud Hotline at 1-800-386-5438.