After severe weather, price gouging statute in effect for all 77 Oklahoma counties
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter announced Wednesday the price gouging statute is now in effect for all 77 counties, after the state was hit by heavy storms and tornadoes.
The Emergency Price Stabilization Act prohibits an increase of more than 10 percent for the price of goods and services. Attorney General Hunter said the law also allows his office to prosecute individuals who attempt to inflate prices of goods and services in an attempt to take advantage of victims.
The Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Unit offers the following tips to avoid contractor fraud:
- Ask for referrals from people you trust and for references from contractors;
- Avoid fly-by-night companies and use local companies established in the community;
- Obtain written estimates from multiple contractors;
- Ensure roofers are registered with the Oklahoma Construction Industries Board by calling (405) 521-6550 or check the online database at http://cib.ok.gov/are-they-licensed;
- Be cautious of door-to-door solicitation, contractors who ask for a substantial up-front payment or request cash payment, use high pressure or aggressive sales tactics or resist the use of a written contract;
- Do not give out bank account information, social security or driver’s license numbers;
- If contractors identify themselves with a federal or state government agency, ask for credentials and call the agency they claim to be with.
The severe weather brought down several trees in the Oklahoma City metro, attracting tree removal companies looking for business.
"Make sure you have a skilled group or tree service, preferable a certified arborist because they go through education to learn about these forces that are at work here," said Bill Long, an arborist with Southern Tree Preservation.
He also recommends assessing the other trees in your yard if one has been damaged.
"Look for girdling roots, broken limbs, rotted limbs," Long said.
Those are all signs your tree may need pruning or removal to prevent it from coming down the next time severe weather strikes.