How to Avoid Home Improvement Fraud and Scams

With home improvement fraud and scams rising, homeowners must take the essential precautions to prevent becoming victims of “fly by night contractors. It really is obligatory on you the homeowner to try and do the following before going in search of a Home Improvement Contractor.”

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Home improvement scams are something for which each homeowner ought to look out. Not only will these rip-offs cost the home owner money for the scam by itself, but they might also have long lasting impacts that could call for hiring an trustworthy service provider to repair whatever was done by the dishonest contractor.

Many contractors will need some money up front or after they begin a project. This can be done for a couple of reasons. Reason #1 is to cover the initial cost of labor and materials to begin the project. Many contractors, particularly smaller ones, just not have the working capital to finance the project to it’s completion. The other explanation is contractors are weary of being cheated exactly the same way homeowners are. A Fraud could work either way. If you have carried out your research, asked all the right questions, and checked references, there should be no reason you can’t give someone a down payment or deposit.

Then there is the old bait and switch tactic as used by dishonest contractors. They normally use an advertisement in a local paper or elsewhere to promote a service in an very low price only to up-sell the homeowner upon arriving on the property. Keep in mind the old adage, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This could be so bad that some homeowners are unaware that they were billed more than the advertised price right up until they get a final bill or invoice. Examine any paperwork or contracts provided to you before signing them and you should not allow work to begin until the details have been hammered out in writing. Even go so far as to analyze a company using the Better Business Bureau or other online review sites prior to getting them.

One way to check whether a business is legitimate is by making sure that they’ve got a real physical address. Of course a few handymen may not have an office and many of these individuals are honest, upstanding individuals, yet take a few minutes to look at that the street address of an office is legitimate. Make use of your judgment; in case you are employing an individual handyman, they may not have an office, however, if you’re hiring a contractor claiming to have an office, check it out. Drive by the property or use a mapping service with a street view to make certain it isn’t an empty lot or another company’s office.

By definition, a scam is “a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation,” according to Meriam-Webster. They might not always seem to be obvious and scammers would like to cheat trusting people, so be sure to keep your head up when hiring a roof painting contractor or other individual.