CT residents warned of post-storm repair and tree removal scams

Attorney General William Tong is warning residents to be on alert for tree removal, power restoration or other repair scams in areas still without power or where heavy damage resulted from Tropical Storm Isaias.

After past significant storms and weather events, Connecticut residents have reported individuals, some claiming to work for utility companies, going door to door offering to reconnect electric power, repair roofs, remove trees or do other work in exchange for cash.

The utility companies, and their authorized contractors, always carry identification and none will ask for payments from consumers. Residents should be wary of any other contractor who is either going door to door, or who contacts you offering a service during this time.

“With some Connecticut residents still waiting desperately for their power to be reconnected and/or trees to be removed from their driveways, it is important to be vigilant of bad actors looking to make money off vulnerable, frustrated people,” Tong said. “Always verify the legitimacy of a contractor or business offering to do work for you.”

The attorney general advises Connecticut residents to hire only contractors licensed by the state to repair damage to their homes and property. Consumers should always verify the registration and insurance of any individual or company before allowing them to work on their property.

In addition to asking for and checking references, residents are advised to ask for a written estimate from at least three contractors that include labor and materials. Read the fine print before signing a contract, and do not pay a contractor in-full in advance.

The attorney general further cautioned consumers against purchasing electrical generators from unlicensed retailers, sometimes from the backs of trucks. There are serious risks posed by a damaged or defective generator and consumers should only purchase them from a reputable business.

Consumers can check and verify whether a contractor is licensed in Connecticut at elicense.ct.gov. Suspected scams can be reported to attorney.general@ct.gov or to the Department of Consumer Protection’s Hotline at 1-800-842 2649 during business hours and at 860-713-6160 after hours and on the weekend.