How to Avoid Home Improvement Fraud

It’s a regrettable fact of life: Scam artists use uncertain or difficult times as an opportunity to get whatever they can.

  • Knocks on your door offering their services and who claims to be in the neighborhood working on another project. Trustworthy specialists don’t need to go door to door to find business.
  • Isn’t willing to offer proof of licensing, bonding and insurance. In most cases, this proof can be presented digitally.
  • Uses scare tactics to convince you to use their services. If there truly is a serious problem, a quality professional will explain the situation in a frank and honest, but not an alarming, way.
  • Tries to pressure you into signing a contract without allowing you to perform due diligence. If they don’t want you looking into their past projects and customers’ reviews, it’s likely they don’t have a good reputation. And remember, electronic contracts are legally just as binding as paper.
  • Offers an extremely low price because they claim they’ll use surplus material left over from another job. Reputable contractors don’t do this.
  • Won’t provide you references for their work. Ask for the names and contact information of at least two previous customers who have had work done similar to yours. If they don’t, they may have something to hide, or they may lack the experience you need to get the job done right.
  • Asks for payment (especially cash) up front. For long-term projects, a reliable professional will write a contract and not expect full payment until it’s been fulfilled.
  • Some states regulate deposits, so make sure your contractor isn’t charging more than local limits. If your state doesn’t regulate or offer guidance, we’d suggest it should be no more than one-third of the total project price, and you should only pay it once your materials have been purchased and delivered to the job site.
  • Doesn’t want to provide a written or digital contract. Even projects that will only take a few hours should be put down in writing (with the price included) before the work starts.
Author: pcainbroker

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