Avoiding Home Improvement Scams
Have you ever been approached by someone pulling up in a non-descript work truck or van offering to assist you with seasonal home improvement projects? It’s, unfortunately, all too common for scam artists to accept payment for work they never intend to perform or complete. To protect yourself from unethical contractors, you should follow these safeguards so that you have the peace of mind that comes from knowing your work will be completed with quality and that your money won’t go down the drain.
Although some “contractors” may present you with a business card, you must take care to find out if the business is actually legitimate. If you cannot find a professional listing for this business, there’s a reasonable chance that it is not an operation you should be doing business with. Always make sure you can confirm the business name, address, and telephone number of the contactor and perform a check with the Better Business Bureau before you hand over any money.
Before you agree to have a contractor perform any work for you, Ask neighbors, friends, relatives, or local consumer advocates for recommendations of reliable contractors. Rather than take a risk by working with an unknown contractor or handyman, be sure you obtain some trustworthy references before embarking on a home improvement project.
Hire the Right Professional for the Right Job
If you are getting new windows or repairing your roof, it’s important to hire professionals that are highly skilled in these areas. A local contractor may not have the specific skills needed to perform window installation or roofing maintenance. If you hire someone who only has general skills, they may not be able to complete your work with the quality you are paying for.
View Licenses and Certifications
Contractors that take the trouble to update and obtain their licenses won’t mind showing you proof. Don’t rely on mere words when it comes to professional licenses. In fact, you also need to ensure that anyone you work with is bonded to avoid any insurance issues in the event something untoward happens.
Follow these tips to avoid being scammed by unethical contractors. Not only will you safeguard your home, you’ll protect your wallet too.
1. AAA Windows 4 Less, “Home Improvement Scams: Don’t Get Fooled,” http://www.aaawindows4less.com/home-improvement-scams-dont-fooled/
2. Reader’s Digest, “How to Avoid Home Improvement Scams,” http://www.rd.com/home/improvement/how-to-avoid-home-improvement-scams-2/