In the wake of Tropical Storm Isaac, Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange, warns that his office will be vigilant in protecting citizens from those who might illegally exploit this dangerous situation.
The laws that crack down on looting and price gouging went into effect when Governor Robert Bentley declared a state of emergency August 26th. The anti-looting law was adopted after last spring’s destructive tornadoes. It makes looting a class C felony, punishable by 1 to 10 years of prison and a fine of up to $15,000 and makes price gouging punishable by fines and penalties.
Those found guilty of price gouging may be fined up to $1,000 per violation and may be prohibited from doing business in Alabama.
It is common for the elderly in many states to become victims of fraud when it comes to house repairs, it is also common after a storm to have phony contractors approach houses that obviously need work. The Attorney General warns consumers to take precautions when hiring someone to make repairs.
There are a few general rules to follow anytime you hire a contractor:
- Ask for references. Get names and numbers and contact them.
- Ask for proof that they are insured or bonded.
- Never make a full payment upfront.
- If get estimates from multiple contractors. If a bid is well below the market price, it’s probably too good to be true.
- Contact the Better Business Bureau to see if any complaints have been filed against them.