Mitchell police warn of traveling merchants, contractorsContractors, sellers go door-to-door with possibly deceptive practices, using inferior labor, materials.
The Mitchell Police Division would like to remind the public that now is the time of year that law enforcement statewide commonly starts receiving complaints of traveling contractors and/or merchants who are either selling contracting services such as asphalt paving, roofing or painting or who are selling merchandise door to door.
This includes roofing companies and paintless dent repair companies.
With the recent hail damage in the Mitchell area, more of these transient contractors/merchants may be engaging in deceptive practices. Some of these contractors use inferior materials that are used in place of the correct material. The poor quality work done by some of these contractors is often not noticed until it is too late and the contractor has been paid and has left the state.
Many of the contractors who are operating illegally target the elderly. These contractors will suggest certain work to be done on a property and scare people into thinking that their property will be damaged if the suggested work is not done immediately.
Transient merchants doing business in South Dakota need to have a South Dakota sales tax license. If goods are being sold by a transient business in the city limits, a city of Mitchell transient merchant license is also required. Transient merchants must post a $500 bond at City Hall in order to conduct business in the city.
Warning signs of potential fraudulent contractors include:
• Anyone offering a job at a reduced price or asking to be paid in cash.
• Pressure to do the job now or it won’t be done for the offered price. Oftentimes, salesmen will say such things as “I need to get rid of this by tonight” as a lead-in to a sales pitch.
• If the price is too good to be true, it probably is.
• If the contractor cannot produce a South Dakota state sales tax license or city license (if required).
Many of these traveling contractors will license their vehicles and trailers locally to have the appearance that they are local, when in fact they are from out of state.
Suspicious transient merchants operating in the Mitchell area should be reported to the Mitchell Police Division at 995-8400 or to other local law enforcement agencies.
Always ask merchants if they have a South Dakota state sales tax license and a city of Mitchell license and ask to see those licenses.
If the merchant cannot produce those licenses, that merchant should be viewed as suspicious and local law enforcement should be notified. Also ask for references and check on references before hiring any contractor. It is always a good idea to also get more than one estimate before hiring anybody to do work.