Avoid Home Improvement Scams

They come out at the first sign of spring, and after winter has departed. They offer you deals that are hard to resist. Remember that old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

There are families who travel around communities and just happen to be in your neighborhood doing a job for your neighbor. Don’t be afraid to ask a few questions. Those questions may save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. A few simple tips may discourage the scammers.

Ask for their permanent address. A professional will have a business address, and not work out of their garage. Ask for a written contract that you will not sign until you have read the small print.

Make sure they have a business license, proof of insurance, and be members of the local contractor’s board. Those may be false, so take down the number and investigate. Never pay anyone up front even those who need the money to buy the materials to do the job. Never pay in advance.

They’ll have excuses why they don’t have the paperwork with them, but you can wait until they do, so don’t rush. They’ll say things like, “We’ll only be in the neighborhood for a few days.” If they’re in a hurry, don’t you be.

Then they may say, “I’ve got all the material I need in my truck, I can’t take it back, and I have no further use for it, so I can do your job and save you hundreds of dollars if you allow me to do the job today.”

Scammers like to go where disaster has hit, like a fire that ravished a neighborhood, or a flood. They will promise the world, but rarely deliver. They will hit you when you least expect it. They will promise to mend your roof in a few hours, when you know it will take days for a new roof to be installed.

When you hire a contractor insist that they be specific in written information. Don’t sign anything unless you study the fine print. Get their license number and check them out with the local authorities, and even the Better Business Bureau. Make sure the down payment and other payments are shown on the contract. The contract also needs to specify what work will be performed in your home, the day they will arrive to do the job, and the estimated time that will take them to finish.

Don’t pay them until they have completed the job to your satisfaction.

 Topic: Home Improvement Scams

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