Avoid Home Repair Scams
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.
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