Skip to Content

Missouri Attorney General Office - Doing It's Job!

Printer-friendly version

Governmental Office Doing it"s Job for the People of Missouri ...

AG Koster Warns Consumers of “Storm-Chasers” Following Flooding

Jefferson City, Mo. -- Attorney General Chris Koster today warned consumers to be alert for possible "storm-chasers" following the heavy rains and flooding across Missouri. Koster said that his office will pursue action against anyone who takes advantage of Missouri consumers in the aftermath of storms.

 


"We are here to protect Missourians whose homes and businesses are damaged by these devastating storms," Koster said. "All Missourians who experience storm or flooding damage should be on the alert for storm-chasers -- scammers who follow severe weather and prey on people needing to repair or rebuild their property."

Koster said storm-chasers typically go door-to-door offering to provide repair or clean-up services. They often claim to be recovery experts or contractors specializing in flood repairs. In reality, these storm-chasers provide shoddy or no work after taking up-front payment, and then flee the area, leaving the homeowner with little or no recourse.

Storm-chasers generally use high-pressure sales tactics, ask for cash up-front, and may try to convince consumers to sign a contract allowing their company to negotiate with the homeowner’s insurance company directly. Storm-chasers often have out-of-state driver’s licenses or license plates and are not able to produce local references or prove they have the licenses or bonds required by the municipality or county.

Koster offers the following tips to avoid becoming the victim of storm-chasers and other scam contractors:

· Do not pay for work up-front. Inspect the work and make sure you are satisfied before you pay. A reasonable down-payment may be required for some projects, but don’t pay anything without getting a written contract. Avoid paying with cash; use a check or a credit card instead.

· Beware of any contractor who tries to rush you or who comes to your home to solicit work. If an offer is "only good now or never," find someone else to perform the work.

· Contact your insurance company. Some insurance companies require an adjuster's approval before work can be done. Take pictures and videos of the damage, if possible. Cover holes in your roof or walls with a tarp to prevent additional damage if you can do so safely.

· Seek recommendations from friends, neighbors, co-workers and others who have had work performed on their homes in the past. Do not hire any person without asking for, and checking, references.

· Get three written estimates for the work, if possible, and compare bids. Check credentials and contact the Attorney General's Office and the Better Business Bureau to learn about any complaints against the contractor. Before work begins, make sure you get a written contract detailing all the work to be performed, its costs and a projected completion date.

Consumers with questions about a contractor or who wish to file a consumer complaint should contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Hotline online or at 800-392-8222.

 


 

 

FCC Commissioner endorses AG Koster’s request to allow phone companies to block telemarketing calls

            

--AG calls on full FCC panel to adopt proposal--


 

 

 

 In response to Attorney General Koster’s efforts, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has submitted a proposal to protect Americans from unwanted robocalls, spam text messages, and telemarketing calls. Koster today encouraged FCC members to pass the proposal, and allow phone companies to utilize call-blocking technologies to better protect consumers from unwanted calls and scams.

Last September, Koster and Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller submitted a letter signed by 37 other state and territorial attorneys general to the FCC urging the commission to recognize call-blocking filters as legally allowable, if requested by customers. The FCC will vote on the chairman’s proposal at the Commission’s Open Meeting on June 18, 2015.

“Missouri’s no-call law has been very effective, but newer technologies enable unwanted callers to place hundreds or even thousands of robocalls in an instant. I urge the FCC to allow phone companies to offer customers a way to block unwanted calls,” Koster said.

Koster said his office received more than 52,000 complaints last year about unwanted calls, a majority of which were robocalls.

Koster reminds Missourians they can sign up for the Do-Not-Call hotline on his website at www.ago.mo.gov or by calling 1-866-662-2551. He encourages consumers who receive harassing solicitation calls to file a complaint at 1-866-buzzoff (1-866-289-9633).

 

____________________________________________

 

 

Attorney General Koster obtains additional $1.2 million for Missouri from Medicaid fraud settlement with care-coordination company

 

 

--additional amount brings total to more than $3.5 million for Missouri Medicaid in settlement with APS--

 

Attorney General Chris Koster announced today that Missouri’s Medicaid program recovered an additional $2.5 million for the state and federal government as a result of Universal American Corp’s (UA) sale of APS Healthcare, Inc. (APS). The additional recovery is part of the March 17, 2015, settlement agreement between APS, the United States, and Missouri. Thus far, APS has paid nearly $7 million to the state and federal government, with $3,643,500 of that amount for Missouri.

A provision in the settlement agreement required APS to pay Missouri and the federal government 50 percent of the gross proceeds resulting from the sale of APS’s domestic assets or business. UA, APS’s parent company, sold APS on May 1, 2015 for $5 million. That sale triggered the additional $2.5 million return.

From 2008 to 2010, APS contracted to provide administrative services for two state Medicaid programs. Under the two programs, APS was to assist with managing the care for chronically ill Medicaid beneficiaries in Missouri, coordinating their preventive care in order to reduce overall costs related to emergency care. Koster contended that APS failed to comply with material contractual terms of both Missouri programs related to beneficiary contact and billing requirements.

“With completion of this settlement, more than $3.6 million in scarce health care dollars has been returned to the Medicaid program,” Koster said.