When it comes to doing any kind of renovation to your home, home contractors are a dime a dozen. Finding a good one at a fair price has always been the challenge, unfortunately there are a lot of less than reputable characters in the construction and home improvement industries. Before you hire anyone you need to know their specialty, ask the right questions and get some credentials. Don’t let a shady home improvement contractor swindle you.
Contractor scams are a huge problem that the industry has been trying to regulate for years. It is still largely up to the consumer to be aware and vigilant because these scams happen more often than they should. You can be bilked out of thousands of dollars if you are caught unaware. You can avoid them if you are armed with a little knowledge ahead of time. Here are some of the more common contractor scams.
Sign of an Unethical Contractor
- Door to door sales, legitimate contractors won’t use this sales tactic
- Offering a deal because there is leftover materials from another job
- High pressure sales tactics
- Only accepting cash payments
- Working without the proper permits
- Offering lifetime warranties or guarantees
- No business listing online
Any one of these can mean that your contractor isn’t reliable or responsible. Oftentimes these contractors will work with scam loan companies as well. Loans for home improvements are almost as common today and just as financially devastating. You can end up home equity loans that are at insanely high interest rates, and huge fees. Once the contractor is paid by this loan they don’t really have much interest in seeing that the job is completed or that it is done well. People get home equity loans all the time to repair or improve their properties but it is done through reputable banks and finance companies and you work with a licensed contractor.
Reporting Your Experience
If you have had a bad experience with a contractor your first step is trying to work it out with the contractor. If that can’t be done then your next step is to send them a certified letter requesting a receipt. Make sure you keep records of any all transactions or correspondence with the contractor. Even if this doesn’t work you still have further options. Start by reporting them to industry associations along with the Better Business Bureau. Check for a local consumer protection office and if the local media has an action line. Do whatever you can to bring attention to the situation and get it resolved.