Today’s news is filled with stories paying tribute to Hurricane Sandy victims one year after the storm, with more than a few of them chronicling the persisting struggles of rebuilding for homeowners. This DNAinfo piece looks at contractor fraud in the Rockaways. According to the story, contractor fraud runs rampant in areas affected by the storm, with licensed contractors giving inflated estimates, taking money and disappearing, or unlicensed contractors simply taking the money and running. According to a lawyer with the New York Legal Assistance Group, “What happens often, instead of best practices where you get three estimates, people were just starting to do emergency repairs and just assuming whatever insurance was paid out, the contractor would take.” Oftentimes that wasn’t the case, with contractors sometimes charging twice as much than what insurance will pay — in one case, a contractor charged a woman thousands of dollars for materials donated from a relief organization. Because of these problems, a high number of storm victims continue to live in uninhabitable or partially repaired homes. In the year after Sandy, the Department of Consumer Affairs received a total of 600 complaints about contractors.
An article at Queens Courier talks about the insurance claims that have also plagued homeowners of damaged properties. Since the storm the number of complaints to the Department of Financial Services spiked, with residents concerned they are not receiving enough insurance money for repairs. The DFS is scheduling site visits with an adjuster from an insurance company to give sites with insurance issues a second look.
Contractor Fraud Runs Rampant in Hurricane Sandy-Hit Areas [DNAinfo]
Storm Victims Navigate Difficulties of Insurance Claims [Queens Courier]
Photo by Dildy Red Bunny