The great weather that summer brings makes it one of the most popular times of the year to taking care of home improvement projects. Unfortunately, we see a significant rise in scams as well. So-called “contractors” will accept payments for work that never gets completed or, in some cases, never gets started at all. In order to protect you and your family from getting duped, the National Association of The Remodeling Industry drafted some guidelines to follow to insure the contractor you choose is reputable.
- Make sure you can confirm the business name, address, and telephone number of the contactor. Using the Better Business Bureau is a great resource to check, although since business are not required to register with them it doesn’t automatically mean they are a fraud.
- Be weary of salespeople soliciting door-to-door. Most reputable contractors work on the strength of the quality of their work and reputation, therefore heavy solicitation tactics are unnecessary. Salespeople who pressure you and offer special “discounts” for signing up on the spot are major red flags to keep in mind.
- Always ask to see all applicable business licenses and insurance information, a legal necessity for all home improvement contractors. If they cannot produce any paperwork or the paperwork they do have looks suspicious (i.e., photocopied, out of date, etc.), do not work with them.
- NEVER pay for the entire job in advance and NEVER pay cash/check to a salesperson. If they ask you to make a payment to anyone but the company itself, they are probably looking to scam you.
- All reputable contractors will inform you of your “Right of Rescission”, allowing you to cancel any contract signed within 3 day, no questions asked. Law requires notification in writing.
- Lastly, ask for work references and examples of work completed in the past.
For more information on scams, check out http://www.nari.org/homeowners/tips/scams.asp