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Iowa Attorney General investigators handle price gouging and scammer complaints at mobile site

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KWWL) - The Iowa Attorney General’s office has opened a mobile site in Cedar Rapids in order to help those facing scammers following the derecho.

Many are still feeling as if they have been robbed by contractors after paying too high of prices for their services. Price gouging on tree removal and home repairs have been many of the complaints that have been filed to the Attorney General's office by consumers.

"We’re serious about all these complaints, especially price gouging derecho type complaints. And we want folks to come out and let us know. We want folks to be alert, aware, and attentive and that’s why we’re here. To maybe give some suggestions, to fill out a complaint, and take steps to protect themselves,” said Iowa Attorney General Investigator Al Parales.

Chainsaws and generators have also been items that have recently gone up in price in retail stores. Comparable to toilet paper at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when disaster situations arise, prices seem to as well.

Some tips from Perales and the Iowa Attorney General’s office:

  • Use a credit card and go through statements at least monthly
  • Deal with local contractors and meet with them in person to get estimates
  • Don’t give in to those who seem desperate for your business
  • And make sure to double check they're licensed and trustworthy

Perales, and the rest of his team, are working hard to solve these issues, but the only way they can help is if they hear directly from those affected.

“We’re present and available if anybody wants to talk to us,” said Perales, "our main goal is to try and get some type of benefit for the consumer.”

To file a complaint one can visit the mobile site at the U.S. Cellular Center Arena Wednesday from 9am-7pm, go online to the Attorney General's website, or call 888-777-4590.

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Diego Hernandez

Multimedia Journalist

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