JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (Legal Newsline) - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster warned consumers Monday about storm chasers, companies that contract with homeowners who suffer storm or tornado damage to provide roofing, tree trimming and other repair services.
Storm chasers usually go door-to-door after severe storms or tornados claiming they specialize in home repair. The contractors often use high-pressure sales tactics and ask for cash up front. The contractors may have out-of-state drivers licenses or plates, have no proof of worker's compensation insurance and be unable to produce local references.
The storm chasers may also ask consumers to sign a contract that lets the company negotiate with the homeowner's insurance company.
Storm chasers usually perform little to no work, provide shoddy work, overcharge consumers and leave the homeowner high and dry.
"Storm-chasers prey on consumers who are vulnerable following destruction to their properties," Koster said. "Senior citizens and disabled individuals are particularly at risk because they may be unable to assess the damage to their homes."
Koster also warned consumers about post-storm price gouging, which is illegal in the state of Missouri. Price gouging occurs when a business suddenly and artificially raises the prices on necessities like food, equipment and gas, during and after a storm.