Beware of home repair trouble after natural disaster! Residents in devastated areas need extra caution
Year after year, Japan has experienced various natural disasters such as typhoon, earthquake, heavy rain and snow.
A natural disaster is often followed by numerous consumer problems resulting from unscrupulous sales related to the natural disaster, particularly in devastated areas. Even if not shortly after a natural disaster, some businesses talk about natural disasters in the past and incite fear of natural disasters in the future to induce consumers to make a contract. After falling for a sales pitch, consumers may find themselves in trouble.
Therefore, NCAC decided to share frequent consumer problems caused by home repair sales related to natural disasters. Bear the following in mind and avoid getting in trouble.
Coercive sales of home repair services
- [Case 1]
- A salesperson persistently induced me to enter into a roof repair contract saying, "If you don't repair the roof soon, there will be a leak in the ceiling." The sales pitch continued for more than two hours.
Inciting fear of natural disasters to make consumers sign an expensive contract
- [Case 2]
- A salesperson incited fear of natural disasters and said, "If you don't repair the roof now, you will be in big trouble!" Then I signed a roof repair contract.
- [Case 3]
- I signed an exterior wall repair contract with a company. The company said, "After the next big earthquake, the garage may collapse." I felt uneasy and entered into a demolition contract. After the demolition work, I was charged far more than the original estimate.
Sloppy repair work
- [Case 4]
- The painting was sloppy and it's necessary to redo it. Completion of the whole work has been long delayed.
Inspection under the pretext of work entrusted by a public institution
- [Case 5]
- I received a phone call from someone saying, "We are providing inspection service entrusted by the Disaster Prevention Division of the prefectural government." When I asked the division about the inspection service, I found that the prefectural government had nothing to do with the service.
Home repair companies recommending to use insurance
- [Case 6]
- A home repair company said, "The gutter is broken due to last month's snow." I entered into a support contract to claim insurance money.
- [Case 7]
- A salesperson visited my home and said, "If the gutter was broken due to typhoon, you can repair it without bearing the cost."
Advice for consumers
- When you are pressed to sign a contract, don't do so on the spot. Compare prices between different companies.
- When a company has incited fear of natural disasters, do not believe the company's talk only. Take caution.
- When you enter into a contract, confirm the construction period and the price.
- Take extra care when you are told "You can use insurance and repair it without bearing the cost," "We will help you to claim insurance."
- Do not enter into a contract with ease, even if you are told that the deadline for claiming insurance is coming close.
- You can exercise the cooling-off right if you have made a contract resulting from door-to-door sales or telemarketing.
If you notice anything odd or have any problem, consult your local consumer affairs center, etc. early.
If your house has been damaged by a natural disaster, you can find home repair companies in your town or prefecture via the following search site in Japanese.