Attorney General Bill Schuette today issued a consumer alert to advise Michigan residents how to avoid getting ripped off by home repair scams.  Anyone affected by the recent Duck Lake Fire is urged to use special caution.

“U.P. Residents affected by the recent wildfire are returning home to assess the damage, but before hiring a contractor, it’s important to do your homework,” said Schuette.  “Be aware: con artists will impersonate legitimate contractors.  That’s why I encourage everyone to take their time and properly check out the people they’re considering doing business with.”

Homeowners who have suffered damage to their homes may encounter unscrupulous home repair “contractors” hoping to take advantage of a stressful situation.  In the consumer alert issued today, Building and Remodeling – Advice for Homeowners, Schuette advises homeowners to take the following steps to avoid falling victim to disaster-chasing con artists:

  1. Breathe – take some time to absorb what has happened and avoid making rash decisions before doing your homework;
  2. Talk to your homeowner’s insurance agent or company and review your homeowner’s insurance policy for important information on what repairs may be covered by your policy and how much your deductible will be;
  3. Get everything in writing;
  4. Never pay in cash – paying by credit card offers added protection if a repair you’ve paid for is not completed; and

Citizens who believe they may have been contacted by a con artist or unscrupulous contractor are encouraged to file complaints with the Attorney General’s office online at www.michigan.gov/ag (click the “File a Complaint” button).

Attorney General Schuette’s consumer alert, Building and Remodeling – Advice for Homeowners, is available online at www.michigan.gov/ag, and the full text is below.

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