ACTION JACKSON: Beware of contractor fraud after Hurricanes Laura, Delta

ACTION JACKSON: Watch out for fraudulent contractors after Hurricanes Laura, Delta

DENHAM SPRINGS, La. (WAFB) - Many people are desperately seeking contractors to make home repairs after Hurricanes Laura and Delta, but it’s important to not let your guard down during this time.

“He got the insurance money and gone with it,” said Stacie Thompson.

Thompson says she hired Songy’s Roofing and Construction in June to replace her roof. Four months later, she says no work has been done.

“He required half the money down and he gave me a price. I wrote him a check for $4,500. It was cashed immediately, the same day,” Thompson said.

She says she thought she followed all the rules, such as checking for a license, looking up reviews, and signing a physical contract, but now, she’s left with a damaged roof she says she can no longer afford to fix.

“I had to pay somebody to put Visqueen up. I don’t know how long that’s going to last, so what am I’m going to do? I don’t know,” said Thompson.

The man she hired, Lance Songy, has been booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Jail. He has also been arrested in St. Charles and Ascension parishes on contractor and insurance fraud charges. He currently has four arrest warrants in Livingston Parish for the same charges.

Carmen Million with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) says there are a few not so obvious tips that could keep you from becoming a victim of contractor fraud.

“If somebody is asking you for money up front, that’s your first sign of caution. If they’re an established contractor, they should have a relationship built in with the supplier, so they don’t need that money up front,” said Million.

Million says along with checking for a license and insurance, always get at least three quotes to help find a fair price; make sure to have a written contract detailing what the contractor is going to do and how much they are charging.

“Never pay in full until the job is completely done, and you never pay in full until you verify all subcontractors and supply houses have been paid. That eliminates the possibility of a lien being placed against your home,” said Million.

Those few steps could save a lot of time and money as so many people work to recover from Hurricanes Laura and Delta.

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