FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 15, 2019
For More Information, contact:
Mike Lewis (334) 353-2199
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
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Alabama Attorney General
Attorney General Steve Marshall, Lee County DA Brandon Hughes,
Sheriff Jay Jones Join with Home Builders Licensure Board to Warn
Against Home Repair Fraud Following Storm Damage
(MONTGOMERY) – As Lee County and other parts of Alabama are struggling to recover from
the devastating storms that struck on March 3, affected residents continue the hard work of
clearing debris and repairing damage to homes and other structures. Attorney General Steve
Marshall, Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes, Sheriff Jay Jones and other local
officials, today joined with the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board at a news conference
to warn against fraudulent practices and advise how consumers may better protect themselves.
The tornadoes and storms caused damage extensively throughout the southeast region of
Alabama, including in Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Crenshaw, Geneva, Henry, Lee, Macon and
“The good people of Alabama are strong and determined, and we come together in times of
crisis such as this,” said Attorney General Steve Marshall. “In the devastation left by these
storms, there is rebuilding to be done. As we move forward, it is important that consumers are
mindful that unscrupulous people may seek to take advantage of their misfortune. To those
who have suffered damage, we urge you to take precautions for your protection, and to those
who would take advantage of this disaster, we warn that home repair fraud is a serious crime
that will not be tolerated.”
Lee County District Attorney Brandon Hughes warned, “Protecting our citizens from nefarious
opportunists during this difficult time is of the utmost importance to me and my office. To
anyone who views this tragedy as your chance to come into our community and commit any
manner of scam or fraudulent activity, you should be forewarned that we are keeping a vigilant
watch and stand ready to prosecute you.”
“Our goal is to prevent anyone that has the intent to profit by taking advantage of the people in
our community who have suffered the loss of loved ones and property,” said Sheriff Jay Jones.
“We will be on alert for any reports of fraud committed under the guise of home and structure
repair services. The Sheriff’s office is dedicated to protecting our community from
unscrupulous conduct during the recovery process.”
Home Builders Licensure Board Executive Director Chip Carden cautioned homeowners who
experienced damage, and emphasized the importance of the consumer knowing about the
potential problems of contracting for homebuilding and remodeling jobs with unlicensed
contractors. “Do your homework,” Carden advised. “Call any references the builder gives you
and check with the Board to confirm if a builder is licensed and in good standing. Don’t be in a
rush. A bad decision now can make a difficult decision even worse.”
501 Washington Avenue * Montgomery, AL 36104 * (334) 242-7300
www.ago.state.al.us Page 2 of 2
The Home Builders Licensure Board regulates and licenses homebuilders and remodelers, and
maintains an official list of those who are licensed for consumers to check before hiring
someone. This state license is required for jobs costing more than $10,000, but consumers are
urged to seek licensees even if the scope of the work is less than that. Plumbers, HVAC
contractors and electricians must be licensed by the state regardless of the cost of work. There
also may be local permitting and license requirements, so check with local city or county
It is recommended that consumers take the following precautions when hiring a builder or
someone to make home repairs:
* Ask if they are licensed. Ask to see the card! The HBLB license is credit card-sized license – a
sample is listed on HBLB’s website. You may check on a builder’s license status by calling 1-800-
304-0853, or by visiting www.hblb.alabama.gov.
* Ask for and check references, especially if the builder makes unsolicited contact with you or is
from out-of-town. Get names and addresses, and call them.
* Obtain several written estimates. Beware of estimates that are well below the market price or
seem “too good to be true.”
* Make sure quotes and contracts are in writing. Under state law, licensed homebuilders must use
a written contract. Make sure it includes the contractor’s full name, address, telephone number,
a description of the work to be performed, starting and estimated completion dates, and the total
cost of the job.
* Ask for proof of insurance, including workers compensation and general liability.
* NEVER make a full payment or substantial down payment up front. Do not make a final
payment until you are satisfied and all subcontractors have been paid. If they tell you that more
money is needed in advance, be wary.
* Ask if this particular job requires a permit and contact your local city and county government to
see if a permit is required. Do not let them talk you into applying for a homeowner’s permit. If
they do not want to be known to local officials, they may be hiding a bad reputation.
*ß Make sure you can contact them. Be certain to get an office number and a cell phone number,
and a physical address. Businesses with established addresses may be safer.
Attorney General Marshall urges consumers and officials to report any problems of alleged
fraud or scams to his consumer protection office by calling toll-free 1-800-392-5658, by writing
to 501 Washington Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama, 36130, or though the Attorney General’s
main web page at www.ago.alabama.gov.
District Attorney Hughes asks that anyone wishing to report fraudulent activity call his office at
For information contact the Home Builders Licensure Board, 445 Herron Street, Montgomery,
Alabama 36104, (334) 242-2230 or 1-800-304-0853 or www.hblb.alabama.gov.