Secretary of State warns storm victims


Atlanta, Ga.  (WDEF) – In the aftermath of violent tornadoes in South Georgia, Georgia’s secretary of state, Brain Kemp, has a warning following the deadly tornadoes in the southern part of the state.

He wants property owners to watch out for unlicensed contractors and scams.

  • Before you select a contractor, check his or her licensure status. Under Georgia law, general and residential contractors must hold a valid license. You can verify an individual or company’s license through the Professional Licensing Boards Division twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Document property damage before the work starts. Taking pictures or a video establishes a record of existing damage before a contractor gives you a repair estimate. This documentation is helpful if you plan on filing an insurance claim to fix the damage, and it will keep you from paying for new property damage caused by a contractor.
  • Do not fall for high-pressure sales tactics. Reputable contractors will not go door-to-door to get your business, and if the deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. Take time to research the business to see if it is locally owned and operated, and ask the contractor for references and proof of insurance.
  • Always get multiple estimates. It is always unwise to rush into a contract before weighing other options, even in an emergency. Be present for each inspection to make sure that you understand what is going into the contractor’s estimate analysis.
  • Before you seal the deal, get it in writing. Do not pay for any work up front until all parties finalize and sign the agreement. The agreement should outline the scope of the work, materials, price, and timeline. If you have insurance, make sure your insurance company signs off on everything before the work begins. Finally, the contractor should be responsible for
  • obtaining any necessary building permits, not you.
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