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Consumers should beware of storm scams

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PIERRE, S.D. (KELO-AM) - South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley warns consumers of repair scams that may surface in the aftermath of the recent snow storm.

The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division is urging consumers to take the necessary steps to evaluate a business before agreeing to a repair job. Consumers who need home repairs or tree removal may be the target of unscrupulous business practices.

Here are a few suggestions when choosing a business to perform repairs:

• Do not be pressured into a quick agreement.• Ask to see proof of insurance and/or bond.• Request a written contract specifying in detail the work to be done and the agreed upon price.• Be cautious if cash-only terms are required.• Do not make full payment before the job is satisfactorily completed.• Ask for local references and call these references to make sure they were satisfied.• If time permits get bids from other companies to compare prices.• Consumers typically have a three day right to cancel on door-to-door sales contracts.

Sellers must provide consumers with a copy of the contract or receipt at the time of the sale. This receipt must show the date of the sale, the name and address of the merchant, and a statement to the buyer of his or her right to cancel the contact within three days. After proper cancellation, the seller has 10 days to refund your money.

Consumers should ask to see the business’ current South Dakota tax license. State law requires all persons selling products or services to have a current South Dakota sales or contractors’ excise tax license. To verify that the license is valid you can contact the state Department of Revenue at 1-800-829-9188. REMEMBER that even though they may have this license it does not mean that you will be able to locate them once the work is done.

Contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Office at 1-800-300-1986 or consumerhelp@state.sd.us with questions or concerns regarding questionable business practices.

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