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Flood Disaster Clean Up
The Attorney General provides Consumer Alerts to inform the public of unfair, misleading, or deceptive business practices, and to provide information and guidance on other issues of concern. Consumer Alerts are not legal advice, legal authority, or a binding legal opinion from the Department of Attorney General.
AFTER THE FLOOD - Don’t Let a Flood Emergency Lead to a Flood of Scams
Floods and other weather disasters can take an emotional, physical, and financial toll on all affected. Whatever the type of disaster – affected homeowners want to repair the damage right away. And with a flood, acting quickly to avoid further problems such as mold infestation is important. A weather disaster is an invitation to unscrupulous scammers seeking to take advantage of otherwise careful consumers. Don’t let the aftermath of a flood turn into an opportunity for scams.
For Emergency Help Information, Shelter Resources, and disaster kits: Phone the 211 United Way referral service, or the local Red Cross at 1-800-774-6066 (Southeastern Michigan Regional Chapter) or visit: http://www.redcross.org/mi/detroit/about/contact.
Avoid Being Scammed
To avoid falling victim to con artists who travel to disaster sites to take advantage of homeowners, make sure you take the following steps:
Under the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, a provider of goods or services used primarily for personal or household purposes may not charge a price that is "grossly in excess of the price at which similar property or services are sold." Unfortunately, weather disasters and other unpredictable conditions can trigger suddenly higher prices. Consumers should be careful when faced with these sudden price spikes, as not all providers may have raised their prices or raised them to the same level. And, if consumers have evidence of grossly excessive prices, we encourage that they contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-765-8388 and file an online complaint at www.michigan.gov/ag. Specific information that would be helpful to provide include details of the specific item or service at issue, the business selling the item or service, the exact price charged, prices being charged by other businesses for the same or similar services, and a copy of the receipt if you purchased the goods or services at issue.
BEWARE OF BUYING A FLOOD DAMAGED VEHICLE
After the flood has passed, an unfortunate aftermath may be a flood of water-damaged vehicles on the used car market. Floods can damage vital parts of a car including airbag sensors, brakes, and the electrical system – and the damage may not show up right away. Be on the lookout for used-car sale offers that seem “too good to be true.” Before purchasing, have the vehicle inspected by an independent, competent automotive technician who has no relation to the seller. Also check the vehicle history through the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System established by the Department of Justice at www.vehiclehistory.gov. Additional information on how to protect against purchasing a flood damaged vehicle is available at: http://1.usa.gov/VmUOI8.
TO FILE A COMPLAINT
Complaints against a licensed builder may be filed the Michigan Department of Licensing & Regulatory Affairs, Bureau of Commercial Services, Enforcement Division. Complaint filing instructions and complaint form available at online at: http://1.usa.gov/1t3hnOc. If the contractor is not licensed and is required to be, contact your local law enforcement authorities, because failure to obtain a license may constitute a violation of criminal law.
Other complaints may be filed with the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division at:
Consumer Protection Division
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