immediate release -- June 30, 1998.
Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699
Tips: Consumer Tips for Iowans with
Following is a bulletin
from Attorney General Tom Miller with tips for Iowans coping with storm-related
tree damage who are hiring contractors for clean-up and removal:
The main problems
we have seen in the past:
- Taking payment
and doing little or no work -- especially by persons from out of town.
- Starting job but
quitting in midstream because it's too difficult (and perhaps taking
- Promising to take
branches away "for the firewood" but only taking big pieces and leaving
- Putting pressure
especially on older Iowans, especially by out-of-state persons.
The main consumer
tips to follow:
- NEVER PAY IN ADVANCE.
This is a recipe for being cheated by a total scam artist, or even by
a local person who doesn't finish the job.
- If at all possible,
deal with an established and reputable local business. Try to deal with
local outfit even if it's not an established contractor.
- Be sure to have
a clear understanding of the price, the job to be done, and when.
- Best to have
- Good to have
- Crucial to
have full agreement on the job to be done (including clean-up.)
- Get professional
if job is risky to workers or your property. May be very important that
they are insured.
- COMPLAIN TO ATTORNEY
GENERAL OR LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT if you have been cheated. (Consumer
Protection Division: 515-281-5926.)
- Note that "price-gouging"
is by rule an "unfair practice" and consumer fraud violation during
disasters. Contact the Attorney General's Office.
- Volunteer to help
older neighbors as they deal with contractors (and be sure they aren't
intimidated into paying for work that was not done.)