Tue., September 22, 2009 2:04pm (EDT)

Consumers Warned About Exploitative Contractors
By Valarie Edwards
Updated: 5 years ago

ATLANTA  —  
Flooding from Monday near Sope Creek in Marietta. (photo courtsey <a rel="cc:attributionURL" href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/tjc/3941397718/" style="font-size:9px;" target="_blank">Timothy J.</a> / <a rel="license" href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/"  style="font-size:9px;" target="_blank">CC BY 2.0</a>)
Flooding from Monday near Sope Creek in Marietta. (photo courtsey Timothy J. / CC BY 2.0)
Consumers, hard hit by recent rains, are now being warned to be on the lookout for unscrupulous contractors.

At last count, seventeen Georgia counties have been declared disaster areas by Governor Sonny Perdue. With that, the state's price gouging law kicks in.

"Businesses may not sell any goods or services necessary to protect the health, safety or property of citizens at prices higher than the prices higher at which those same goods or services were offered before the declaration," said Shawn Conroy, with the Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs.

"A good example may be a tree cutting service, you may not realize you should have paid $500, instead you paid $5,000."

The governor's office of consumer affairs warns homeowners to get more than one estimate, agree on a fee in writing ahead of services being rendered, make sure you get a signed copy of the fee agreement and look closely at your next credit card or banking statement.