|After a series of tornadoes in northern and central Illinois, Attorney General Lisa Madigan has warned Chicago and other Illinois residents to be on the alert for roofing and home repair scams that often pop up in certain seasons and after such storms.
“The communities hit by these tornadoes face a long recovery process,” Madigan said in a news release. “During this challenging time, I encourage area residents to be cautious and on alert for scammers trying to take advantage of people in need of assistance.”
She noted that these scammers often use the pressure of recent damage to persuade homeowners to make impulsive, expensive decisions regarding roofing and other cleanup and construction work.
The attorney general’s office also announced that lawsuits have been filed against four businesses that apparently previously scammed suburban Chicago and central Illinois homeowners out of around $220,000.
“In some of these cases, homeowners are faced with the possibility of liens being placed on their homes all because they put their trust in the wrong people,” Madigan said. “Be wary of anyone who knocks on your door offering services and make sure you obtain written copies of all contracts and warranties.”
Madigan encouraged any consumers to check out prospective workers by calling the attorney general’s consumer fraud hotlines (numbers are available online), and warned against paying in cash.
It’s important to check out the reputation of any company in advance and get a written contract; some fraudsters will appear to start satisfactory work but cut corners along the way in order to move on to other projects, leaving homeowners with far less recourse (installing a new roof on top of the existing one to save time, for example, cuts the life of the new roof by 20%, according to expert estimates).
Though Madigan’s warning is aimed specifically at Illinois residents, it’s a sentiment many homeowners across the country should probably heed as they look to repair damage from summer and spring storms; even typically mild cities such as Austin have seen serious storm damage in the past weeks.