Scams to watch out for after flooding: Price gouging, contractor scams and water damaged vehicle sales

Michigan AG issues alert to protect consumers

Help Me Hank segment 6-29-21

LANSING, Mich. – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel wants Michigan residents to watch out for scammers and price-gougers will try to take advantage of homeowners and vehicle owners impacted by flooding.

Nessel said price-gouging by towing companies that have towed cars out of flooded roadways and impounded them is a major concern. She said contractors offering to help homeowners clean up after the weekend storms is also a concern.

Read: Michigan offers emergency relief to low-income residents who need home repairs from flood damage

Read: Michigan offers emergency relief to low-income residents who need home repairs from flood damage

How to fight unreasonable towing fees

Drivers can challenge whether their vehicle was properly towed and the reasonableness of towing and storage fees.

If you’re going to challenge the fees, it has to be done quickly and with the appropriate district court. You’ll have to file a petition in the district court with jurisdiction over the location the car was towed from.

Read: Drivers paying $500 towing fees after massive flood in Metro Detroit

The petition must be filed within 20 days from the date on the notice that your vehicle was towed and abandoned. You will be responsible for court filing fees.

If you request a hearing, you can get your vehicle back while you’re waiting for the hearing outcome but you’ll have to post a towing and storage bond or pay the abandoned vehicle fees to the custodian of your vehicle.

If the court decides the vehicle was improperly towed you’ll be reimbursed for the towing storage fees and the abandoned vehicle fee will be returned.

Nessel is also reminding people to research contractors before letting them work on your home. Don’t pay anyone until you’re sure they’re trustworthy. If you’re in the market for a used car you’ll need to watch out for water damage.

To file a complaint with the Attorney General, or get additional information, contact: Consumer Protection Division P.O. Box 30213 Lansing, MI 48909 517-335-7599 Fax: 517-241-3771 Toll free: 877-765-8388 or use the online complaint form

Read: Another major flood event in Metro Detroit: Should we blame global warming?

About the Authors:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.