Thousands of volunteers are in Enterprise helping with the clean-up efforts, but unfortunately, some people are out there taking advantage of the victims. City officials are sending out a serious warning about price gougers.
The tornado is gone and it's all about recovery and progress in the city of Enterprise. However, city officials say residents need to be on the lookout for companies overcharging for tree removal and debris clean-up.
Special Projects Coordinator Tara Emnett, with the Mayor's Office says, "If they're not local, we can't verify them, but if it is a local company, you can verify to make sure they are licensed, insured, and bonded. This is the best way to make sure you don't become a victim."
The Mayor's Office says people need to be very careful about vendors offering fraudulent services.
Enterprise resident Reesa Byrd knows about this first hand. A tree crashed through the middle of her home, and when someone offered to repair it, she says she became leery about the price. "A man wanted $850.00 to cut a tree and last year, a man wanted $250 dollars to cut the same size tree," she said.
A similar situation happened to Shirley Wolfe of Enterprise. A construction company from Mobile showed up at her home and offered to cut and remove the damaged trees from her yard.
Shirley says the construction crew told her they were from her insurance company, but they weren't and now, she's stuck with a bill for $9,000 dollars. "They just blew in,” she says. “Nobody told them to do it, we didn't tell him, the insurance company didn't tell him; they took it upon themselves just to do it."
Shirley is now using a local company to finish the work. Even they say they've seen residents being overcharged.
Chad Mixon, with Public Relations at Southeastern Landscaping says, "Most of the insurance company's are paying around $500 for trees to be taken down and then an additional $500 for them to be removed and taken to the street. We've seen some prices that are a little outrageous."
All hope this warning will protect both residents and vendors in the Enterprise area.
Officials from Southeastern Landscaping say a legitimate company should be able to show you proof they're licensed, insured, bonded, and give you an estimate in writing.
Another important thing is to check and make sure the company has worker's compensation, so if a worker gets hurt, the homeowner isn't liable.
Before doing any construction on your home, get a permit by calling the Enterprise Engineering Department at 334-378-2671 and you can verify all local vendors by calling City Hall at 334-348-2600.