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Disaster Vultures Have Arrived

I just got the first call from someone trying to cash in on the disaster. Claimed he wasn’t trying to sell something and was just calling in light of the recent flooding in the area. (Right, that is why you are making cold calls.) “Brad’s tree and stump service” offering free estimates. I don’t see this business in the local directory and the number comes up from a cell phone and the name James Macgregor. We are on the freakin Do Not Call List, and our phone has an option that gives a message saying we do not accept calls from solicitors and you must dial one to get through if you are not selling anything. This person must have hit the one to bypass the filter. I would suggest we all be careful of unsolicited help and hire local! This is disgusting!

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6 Comment(s)

  1. I just saw this at Lake Avenue and Fourth Street. Like Dulusion it was the timing and out-of-town number that activated my Vulture detector.

    wildgoose | Jun 22, 2012 | New Comment
  2. In their defense, I’m betting all the local guys are all over-booked right now given the wide-spread flooding. And if you have a water problem, you can’t really wait for someone to get back to you in a week or two.

    BadCat! | Jun 22, 2012 | New Comment
  3. Just to be clear, defense of the out-of-towners, not cold-callers who ignore basic instructions!

    BadCat! | Jun 22, 2012 | New Comment
  4. In town or out of town, check on the company’s reputation before signing a contract. Some are legit and honest, some are the vultures.

    B-man | Jun 25, 2012 | New Comment
  5. From the Duluth Police Dept.:

    The recovery mode from the recent flood disaster is now in full swing. Unfortunately, natural disasters such as this are the cue for con artists and drifters to move in hoping for desperate people to let their guard down. There have been no scam-related complaints yet, but in the interest of being proactive in preventing our citizens from being victimized by scam artists and unscrupulous contractors, the Duluth Police Department is making the public aware of the potential for fraud and some methods to avoid being victimized.

    Almost all scams begin with an unsolicited visit from someone purporting to be a contractor. For this reason, a good practice is to reject it if you did not request it.

    Be suspicious if a contractor:
    · Provides a hasty quote on a big job or a lowball offer
    · Demands cash, full payment, or a high up-front percentage
    · Has no physical address or identification
    · Uses pressure tactics and limited-time offers
    · Offers you under-the-table deals such as a discount for cash
    · Refuses to provide a written contract or a written guarantee

    Good practices to avoid being scammed:
    · Obtain the contractor’s business name and contractor license number
    · Ask for references
    · Get a written contract which contains all the contractor’s contact information, details of all
    the work to be done, and any guarantees
    · Do not make a large up-front deposit
    · Whenever possible, get a referral or use local contractors
    · Verify your contractor’s license at the Minnesota Department of Labor and

    · Research your contractor at the Better Business Bureau

    Additionally, many legitimate persons such as insurance agents, FEMA personnel, local inspectors and real contractors may have to visit your storm-damaged property. However, you may also encounter people posing as inspectors, government officials or contractors in a bid to obtain personal information or collect payment for repair work. Your best strategy to protect yourself against fraud is to ask to see identification in all cases and to safeguard your personal financial information. Local, state and federal employees do not solicit or accept money for public services.

    B-man | Jun 26, 2012 | New Comment
  6. If you think just getting the carpet in the basement cleaned is enough, you’re gonna have a bad time.

    adam | Jun 27, 2012 | New Comment

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