RUSTON, La. (5/2/19)– “He explained to this home owner and tried to touch her emotions that he’s hurting for her, that he wants to help her,”
A plea crooked contractors are making to Ruston residents that’s far from the truth.
Devastation from last week’s tornado is evident. Those with severely damaged homes and buildings have been through a whirlwind of emotion.
It’s situations like these that bring in out-of-state crooks that rip people off.
“As recently as yesterday, we’ve had an out of town contractor quote a job that was eight times the normal rate,” said Bill Sanderson, building official with the city of Ruston.
Sanderson says at least two Ruston residents have been scammed out of thousands of dollars.
Crooked contractors will do a bare minimum job, leaving debris behind and disappear without a trace.
“When they look at the devastation to their home, they look at the devastation in their yards, they sign a contract not really realizing what their doing,” said Sanderson.
When hiring a contractor, it’s important to never give money up front.
“This one job we got, and the reason we got the job, they hired the guy to do the job and he demanded $1,000 upfront. I never ask for any money until the job’s complete and the customer is happy with our work,” said Troy Cage, owner of Cajun Tree Cutters.
Sanderson says the public works department has been working with Ruston police to help identify scammers. He says that legitimate contractors always go through insurance companies.
“He [contractor] will contact his insurance company and have them provide to you direct–not through that contractor–a certificate of liability insurance that’s there to protect you,” said Sanderson.
Sanderson also advises using local businesses, that way if something goes wrong with the job, contacting them will be easier.