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Attorney General Derek Schmidt urges caution for consumers in wake of severe storms

Release Date: May 04, 2022

TOPEKA – (May 4, 2022) – Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt today urged Kansans to be cautious as they react to last Friday’s severe storms that struck the state and caused widespread damage to homes and communities.

Schmidt said it was important for Kansans to know their rights under the Kansas Consumer Protection Act as it relates to home or business repairs, as well as using diligence when giving to charitable organizations assisting with relief efforts.

“As the road to recovery begins, it is important for consumers to be on guard against scammers and unscrupulous businesses looking to profit from the tragedy of others,” Schmidt said.

Staff from the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division have been in contact with local officials in storm-damaged areas to assist in responding to contractors and consumers.

Schmidt advised particular caution in three regards:

ROOFERS: With few exceptions, the Kansas Roofing Registration Act requires roofing contractors who operate in Kansas to obtain a registration certificate from the Kansas Attorney General in order to legally solicit or provide commercial or residential roofing services for a fee. The act is designed to ensure that legitimate roofing contractors are complying with state requirements, such as carrying appropriate insurance, and to help prevent “fly-by-night” operators from taking advantage of Kansas consumers. The requirement to register with the attorney general’s office is in addition to any other local requirements that cities, counties, or other governments may impose. The online directory of registered roofers is available at www.InYourCornerKansas.org.

Working with a roofer that is registered is a bare minimum to help prevent problems. 

DOOR-TO-DOOR PEDDLERS: Under Kansas law, any door-to-door sale must include a three-day right to cancel for any purchase of $25 or more made at your home, or any location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business or local address. The seller must give you written and verbal notice of this right to cancel and contact information if you choose to exercise your right to cancel. It is also suggested you send this cancellation by certified mail so you can track it. Companies are then required to refund the customer’s money within 10 days of receiving the cancellation. If you pay for a door-to-door sale with a check, the seller is not allowed to cash or deposit that check until five business days have passed since the transaction. This is to give you a chance to exercise your three-day right to cancel. Because of this rule, it’s especially important to never pay for a door-to-door sale in cash, since it becomes impossible to exercise this option to cancel the transaction and stop payment on the check.

The attorney general’s office also recommends the following tips in dealing with any transient contractors, including those selling repairs door-to-door:

  • Get recommendations from people you know and references from the contractor.
  • Get at least three written estimates from different contractors.
  • Check contractor complaint records with the Better Business Bureau.
  • Understand your payment options and right to cancel. 
  • Do not pay for the full amount of the work up front.

CHARITIES: Schmidt also reminded Kansans to do their homework and be on guard against scams or unscrupulous charities seeking to profit from the disaster. Numerous organizations have established avenues for making charitable contributions to provide food, shelter and other resources to the victims from Friday’s storms. Schmidt said Kansans should be wary of solicitors who appear to be legitimate but use a name that is slightly modified from a well-known charity, or use a misleading online address to redirect well-intended contributions.

Schmidt said the safest way to avoid charities fraud perpetrated through email, text or telephone scams is for Kansans to take control of their own charitable giving.  Kansans should develop their own proactive giving plan and give directly to the charities of their choice, ensuring that the maximum portion of a contribution goes to disaster relief itself rather than fundraising expenses. In addition, giving to well-established local charities that support disaster and recovery activities can maximize the benefit of each contribution and help avoid giving to scams.

The Office of the Attorney General is responsible for enforcement of the Kansas Charitable Organizations and Solicitations Act and protecting consumers from fraudulent charitable and solicitation activities. For more tips and resources on charitable giving, or to check whether a charity is registered with the Attorney General’s Office, visit www.InYourCornerKansas.org/charities.

Any Kansans who have problems with roofing contractors or other companies that follow storms, or suspect a charity scam or fraud, may file a request for the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Division to investigate at (800) 432-2310 or www.InYourCornerKansas.org. The attorney general requests that Kansans promptly report any unregistered person or company attempting to sell roofing services.

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