Consumer Protection Advocates Prepare For Oklahoma Disaster Scams
OKLAHOMA CITY - Immediately following severe weather, the primary concern is often price gouging, or the sudden increase in the price of goods or services like food and water. However, the biggest threat for out-of-state scams comes days later, after the initial shock has subsided and clean-up efforts begin.
“The scams, generally, unfortunately, start pretty quickly,” said Sean Rose with the Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma. “Within a week to a month you’ll see people coming in from out of state.”
Here are a few of Rose’s recommendations:
- Contact your insurance company early: “A lot of times your insurance policy, whether it's renters insurance or homeowners insurance, has built in provisions for things like this. So, they will really be able to tell you a lot of great information and give you a lot of things to go off of, and they might even have some providers or different companies in the area that they work with regularly that they'll recommend to you,” said Rose.
- Don’t fall for high pressure sales tactics: “You really want to be able to evaluate your options. We always recommend getting three different bids on any cleanup or repair work so you can really see the spectrum of what products people use, or how fast or what their timetables are. So, getting multiple bids is always a great option,” said Rose.
- Look up a company’s track record on BBB.org: “If they've had complaints, look through the complaints to see how they resolved the complaints, how they respond to the customer, what the consumer was upset about, and whether or not it was resolved to their satisfaction,” said Rose.
If you believe you may be the victim of a disaster scam, contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Unit at ConsumerProtection@oag.ok.gov or 405-521-2029 or 918- 581-2885.