CONSUMER ALERT: Attorney General Chris Carr Warns Scammers and Price Gougers to Think Twice Before Targeting Georgia Consumers
ATLANTA, GA – Attorney General Chris Carr warns consumers to be on the lookout for scams and possible price gouging in the wake of a weather system that moved in to Southwest Georgia on January 2, 2017 through January 3, 2017, producing severe thunderstorms, excessive rainfall and tornados resulting in damages.
“Sadly enough, con artists often exploit disasters by taking advantage of storm victims or preying on the sympathies of those who want to help out,” said Attorney General Carr. “The Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit is authorized to investigate scams and price gouging. Under Georgia law, penalties for this type of conduct can range between $2,000 to $15,000 per violation. We strongly urge you to think twice about taking advantage of consumers who are attempting to rebuild their lives in this storm’s aftermath.”
While there are some consumer protection and criminal statutes designed to protect Georgians from scams and price gouging, the best option is to try to avoid becoming a victim in the first place. First, follow the adage that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true. If you are contracting for repair work or tree-removal services, ask questions of and seek references from anyone looking to do the work for you. Get competing estimates, especially if it is a large or lengthy project, and be sure to get everything in writing, including estimates on the cost of the work, as well as any warranties or promises made by either the contractor or the manufacturer of the goods that will be used in the construction. Make certain that start and end dates are specified. It is always a good idea to take as much time as you need to feel comfortable before signing anything. If you don’t understand anything in a contract that someone asks you to sign, or it seems to conflict with what you were told, don’t sign.
If you feel that you may have been the victim of a scam or price gouging, please contact the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit at 404-651-8600 within the metro Atlanta area or at 1-800-869-1123 toll-free outside of the metro Atlanta calling area. In addition, you can find more resources at the Consumer Protection Unit’s website at www.consumer.ga.gov.
*Telephone counselors are available between 8:30am-5:00pm Monday-Thursday, and 8:30am-4:00pm on Friday.