Attorney General Warns Consumers To Avoid Fraudulent ‘Storm Chaser’ Car Hail Damage Repairers

From the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office:

 

ALBUQUERQUE – Today, Attorney General Hector Balderas issued a scam alert, warning consumers that “storm chasers,” or mobile car repairers are showing up on street corners or at New Mexicans’ front doors, trying to get consumers to pay for hail damage repair, and scamming them out of their hard-earned dollars.

“Occasional hail storms and hail damage to cars are part of living life here in New Mexico,” Balderas said. “Unfortunately, these scammers are taking advantage of New Mexicans in need. I hope that consumers will protect themselves against financial injury as they try to repair hail damage. Using a scammer rather than a real repair person or shop can cause more damage than the hail did.”

The Attorney General advised that door-to-door sales people asking to repair hail damage on residences should never be allowed to climb onto the roof, as doing so increases the homeowner’s liability and such door-to-door sales people have been known to file claims for injuries for falls that did not even really occur. Further, no consumer should sign anything from these door-to-door roof scammers, as all too often the document signed allows the scammer to bill the consumer’s insurance and/or allows the scammer to charge high dollars for repairs even if the work is shoddy or only partially done.

The Attorney General recommends checking with a homeowner insurance agent for recommendations of who is trustworthy to assess hail damage. At a minimum, consumers who consider paying an unknown person for roof repair after hail damage should double-check with the Construction Industries Division (CID) to make sure the person or business is licensed and has no pending complaints.  If the work is done by a licensed professional, the consumer can enlist the help of CID to help if the work is substandard or left incomplete.

State law does not cover minimum requirements for those who promise dent repair on automobiles. However, most city ordinances do. Therefore, consumers should always check to see the dent repair business’s business license before agreeing to the contract, and double check to make sure that the license, if posted, is genuine.

Mobile car repair units typically move around quickly from location to location – rarely staying for more than a week or two in one location. They post signs on street corners offering good, cheap work, but sometimes disappear before completing it.

When selecting businesses to do repair work, consumers should look to local, legitimate businesses who have a good reputation. Sometimes, cheap repairs mean more trouble down the road—that’s because many of these mobile repair places don’t offer legitimate warranties and could actually harm your car, meaning more loss of value for you. Know that many of these legitimate businesses may have some back log and it may take a little while to get an appointment to get your car fixed.  But the patience will pay off with an enforceable warranty and quality service. 

The Office of Attorney General Hector Balderas employs advocates to help consumers who encounter scams, faulty products and broken promises. Those who think they may have been scammed can file a complaint at the Attorney General’s website at www.nmag.gov or call 505.717.3500 in Albuquerque, 505.490.4060 in Santa Fe, or toll-free statewide 1.844.255.9210.

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