Beware of Hurricane Home Repair Scams
If your home has been damaged in one of Florida’s devastating hurricanes, you and your family have been through plenty. The last thing you need is to be scammed in the process of having your home repaired, but unfortunately, there are people willing to scam you out there. Having your home repaired is a primary step toward post-hurricane recovery, and if you have home-repair concerns, an experienced Panama City insurance claim liability lawyer can help.
Three Men Plead Guilty
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, three men have pleaded guilty to scamming Floridian homeowners hit hard by Hurricane Michael. The men provided contracts for home repairs that amounted to more than $300,000 in payments but never did any of the repair work. A U.S. Attorney involved in the case shares that “it is almost inconceivable that anyone would stoop so low as to prey on the storm’s victims in such a craven way.” Indeed, when these victims of Hurricane Michael’s destruction were most in need, the men in question brazenly took advantage of their trust.
How the Scheme Worked
One of the men involved used two of his businesses to carry off the scam, and it worked as follows:
- The business owner hired men to go door to door and urge hurricane victims to purchase repair jobs by using high-pressure sales tactics.
- The hired men collected payments from the targets.
- Occasionally, the businessman sent workers to tackle small jobs for the homeowners being scammed – like replacing shingles or repairing drywall – in order to forward the belief that more fundamental repairs were in the works.
When the homeowners ultimately complained to the business owner about the lack of progress, he informed them that he’d be returning their money for any work that went unfinished. Later, however, he sent each of the homeowners awaiting repairs a letter explaining that he would neither make the repairs nor return their money.
Forbes shares that, after Hurricane Harvey, more than 3,200 homeowners filed complaints about scams involving price gouging and fraud (according to AARP). The most common scams (according to FEMA) include fraudulent building contractors and housing inspectors and charging for services that are actually free. While it is tempting and comforting to begin repair work immediately after disaster strikes, it is always in your best interest to proceed with caution and to ensure that the repair services you hire are legitimate.
You Need an Experienced Panama City Insurance Claim Liability Lawyer on Your Side
While it is difficult to imagine anyone wanting to take advantage of you after you’ve been through the devastation of a natural disaster like Hurricane Michael, the fact is that scam artists are out there. If you have concerns related to home repairs you’ve hired or are planning on hiring, the dedicated legal team at Ged Lawyers, LLP – proudly serving the Panama City and surrounding areas – has the experience, resources, and compassion to help you move forward toward recovering post-storm. Your claim matters, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 850-684-4000 for more information today.