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Avoid Home Repair Scams

Updated on October 31, 2012

The Council of Better Business Bureaus recently reported that the number of home repair scams has increased by 60% over the last five years. Not surprisingly, most of the cases involved senior citizens who were ripped-off by at-home in-person solicitors who promised to make repairs after receiving an up-front payment. The scammer usually offers a lower price than what is usually charged to lure the unsuspecting homeowner. The scammer then demands an up-front payment to “buy supplies” and to begin the work. Once the homeowner pays the up-front fee, the scammer either disappears without doing any work OR does substandard work with substandard materials. In either case, the homeowner gets ripped-off.

The most common scams involve roof leaks, plumbing, chimney sweeps, mold, and termites. Here are a few things you can do to avoid getting scammed.

  • Use only licensed and bonded contractors.
  • Get multiple estimates and conduct a price comparison.
  • Get references from the contractor.
  • Check the contractor’s rating with your local Better Business Bureau.
  • Get a contract for services in writing.
  • Read the contract carefully before signing
  • Never make an up-front payment
  • Make a payment only after the work is completed OR make partial payments as the work is completed.
  • Check the contractor’s work before making a payment.


The information in this article is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, comments, answers, or other communications should be taken as legal advice. The information provided is not intended to create, and viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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    • Blawger profile image

      Bahin Ameri 5 years ago from California

      Sorry this has happened to you. If it makes you feel any better, I was also scammed a few years ago by a roofer who totally overcharged me for a new roof which I did not need. Stupid scammers! At least we have learned our lesson.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I wish I would have read this years ago when I was taken by a contractor. Agree, please, please do not pay money up front! Hope this saves others from the same mistakes.

    • Blawger profile image

      Bahin Ameri 5 years ago from California

      You bring up a very good point. Sometimes paying up front is totally appropriate. For example, when I got wood floors we had to pay for the wood panels in advance. But like you said, we had checked the contractor's references so I had no problem paying for supplies in advance. Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

    • rfmoran profile image

      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Very useful hub. If you get goog references, an upfront payment may not be a terrible idea because the contractor does need to lay out money. Seniors, it is true, are the predominant victims of sleazy creeps.

    • Blawger profile image

      Bahin Ameri 5 years ago from California

      Thank you for reading and leaving a comment. It is sad when people are taken advantage of. I think the best way to protect oneself is to get multiple estimates and to only pay when the work is complete.

    • Patty Kenyon profile image

      Patty Kenyon 5 years ago from Ledyard, Connecticut

      Both Interesting and Useful!!! It is truly sad when someone would treat others as prey!! Thank-you for sharing and I am sure many will find this useful!!!