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People Seeking Aid after Flooding Should be Vigilant of Scammers

The following is suggested to avoid problems:

Research the Business: Check with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs at the telephone number listed below

Get a Written Estimate: Be sure to obtain a written estimate and compare the services and prices of several reputable contractors before making a final decision. Deal locally if possible.

Ask for References: Call former customers who had similar work done.

Proof of Insurance: Make sure the contractor carries general liability insurance and worker’s compensation. If the contractor is not insured, the homeowner may be liable for accidents that occur on the property or to the house/building.

Use Licensed Contractors: Check to ensure they are licensed with the Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation.

Obtain a Contract: A complete contract will state the tasks to be preformed and all associated costs. Never sign a blank contract or one with blank spaces. Make sure the agreement states who will apply for the necessary permits or licenses.

Written Guarantees: Ask for a written guarantee stating who is responsible for equipment and materials.

Pay by Check: If possible, avoid on-the-spot cash payments; the safest route is to write a check made out to a contracting agency

Canceling a Contract: Canceling a contract should be done within three business days of the signing. Be sure to follow the agreement stated in the cancellation clauses and send the notification by registered mail.

Have Work Inspected: If excavation work is being performed (e.g., sewers or basement walls) make sure a qualified inspector inspects the work before it is hidden from view to avoid similar problems in the future.

Individuals who are a victim of scams or who witness scamming activities should report these incidents to South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs at (803) 734-4200 or toll free within South Carolina at 1-800-922-1594

For more ways to report and prevent scams visit www.consumer.sc.gov

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