The news has been full of contractor scam stories from all over the nation. This prompted me to take a moment to talk to you about how you can avoid being taken in by one of these scams.
After all, they give us legitimate contractors a bad name.
Most of these scams actually revolve around roof repair. I think this is because homeowners rarely want to get up on the roof to see for themselves whether or not there’s a problem, especially if they’re elderly.
I also think that there’s a lot of fear in general about roof damage. After all, if the roof goes the whole house will be in trouble soon after.
But in truth, any kind of home repair can become the focus of a home improvement scam.
How do the Scams Work?
Usually it starts with a knock on the door. The “contractor” may helpfully tell you that he’s noticed some damage, and he may try to talk you into an inspection.
In some versions of the scam, the contractor then tries to charge you an inspection fee, or tries to pressure you into hiring them because they performed an inspection. They may try to convince you that your insurance will pay for it.
In some cases, the scammer will actually cause damage to your home in an effort to ensure that you hire him, or keep hiring him. This happened to a lady here in Florida recently. The lady in the story lost nearly $13000 to a scammer who was actively causing problems in her home so that there would always be something for him to come back and “fix.”
How Do You Spot Scammers?
First, be wary of anyone who knocks on your door. Legitimate contractors don’t usually use door-to-door sales. We’re certainly not driving around peering at people’s homes trying to spot problems.
We’re too busy doing work! We usually get that work when a homeowner calls us, or when we get a referral.
Legitimate contractors also have references and license numbers. Ask for them and verify them!
Check the contractor’s website, too. Do they even have one? Does it inspire you to trust their business? What do their former customers have to say?
Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if anything doesn’t seem right, walk away. If you really think you need that work done, consider calling someone who didn’t try to solicit the work from you.
Your home is your greatest asset, so don’t take any chances with it!
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