MADISON -- Summer storms in Wisconsin can be brutal. If your property is damaged due to severe weather, it’s good to remember that another kind of storm may be brewing: transient home improvement workers who rip off homeowners. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) warns Wisconsin residents to be on the lookout for these “storm chasers.”
“Every year we hear from consumers who have been conned by storm chasers,” said Frank Frassetto, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection. “Don’t be hasty when doing your homework on the contractor you hire.”
Storm chasers charge high prices for shoddy work, or offer a low price to get an upfront payment and then run off with a victim’s money. The workers are often from out of state and move quickly from town to town, making them difficult to track. The workers pressure homeowners for a down payment, and sometimes increase the price of the job when they ask for the final payment.
“Never let these workers into your home and don’t give in to high-pressure tactics,” said Frassetto.
A Wisconsin state law – “The Storm Chaser Law” – gives DATCP enforcement tools to protect consumers and honest businesses and aims to prevent insurance fraud. Highlights of the law include:
Here are additional Consumer Protection tips for homeowners with storm damage:
For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau at datcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Consumer Information Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.