LABELLE, FL. -- Attorney General Charlie Crist adviseS Floridians
affected by Hurricane Wilma to use extra caution when hiring workers to
help clean up the damage caused by the storm. In particular, Crist warned
those who are victims of water damage and downed trees to be alert for
contractors who offer water removal or cleanup services for homes and
Consumers face the risk that services will be offered by those who are not
licensed, that clean-up services will be offered at unconscionably high
prices, or that so-called "contractors" will accept down payments but will
not do the
work at all. Crist said his office is prepared to investigate complaints of
alleged price gouging, and said citizens should call his Price Gouging
Hotline at 1-866-9-NO-SCAM (1-866-966-7226) to file such complaints.
- Before signing a contract, check the payment terms and other
provisions carefully. Don't pay a contractor in advance.
- Do not pay cash to home repair contractors or tree removal
- Require home repair contractors to obtain all necessary government
licenses and permits, rather than leaving that burden on the
- Make sure contractors have proper occupational licenses as
required by state law.
- Work only with reputable, established businesses. Avoid
"contractors" who knock on your door offering to fix your roof or
windows. Try to obtain more than one estimate for the repair work.