Disasters can bring dastardly deeds.
With that in mind after weekend floods in Metro Detroit and elsewhere, the state attorney general "is warning Michigan residents to beware of scam artists and price-gougers who will try to take advantage of desperate home and vehicle owners in the next several days and weeks," an announcement says Tuesday.
Of particular concern are reports of price-gouging by towing companies that have towed cars out of flooded roadways and impounded them -- as well as fly-by-night contractors offering to help homeowners clean up. ...
"I am concerned that bad actors may use the weekend's flooding to overcharge or scam people who need assistance," [Dana] Nessel said. "Our consumer protection team is committed to investigating complaints and I encourage people to contact our office if you believe an entity is engaging in price gouging or other fraudulent behavior. We stand ready to hold accountable anyone who attempts to take advantage of this devastating situation."
The department learned of complaints about possible price-gouging by towing companies recovering vehicles that were abandoned during flooding in Southeast Michigan. ...
Drivers have the right to challenge whether your vehicle was properly towed and the reasonableness of towing and storage fees, but you must do so in a timely manner and in an appropriate district court.
The process requires you to file a petition in the district court with jurisdiction over the location from which your car was towed. You must file your petition within 20 days from the date on the notice that your vehicle was towed as abandoned. And you will be responsible for applicable court filing fees. ...
If the court finds the vehicle was improperly towed, you will be reimbursed for the towing and storage fees and the abandoned vehicle fee will be returned.
The agency also recommends that Michiganians "research contractors if home repairs are needed before paying for a project and alerts drivers to beware of water-damaged vehicles being sold on the used car market."
► Attorney general's office: Consumer Protection Division, Box 30213, Lansing, MI 48909 | (517) 335-7599 | Complaint form