Tips On Avoiding Contractor Scams
Avoiding contractor scams can be a difficult task. Many consumers are unaware of the signs of a scandal. In this day and age, being able to identify the signs of a scam will help a lot of homeowners avoid being ripped off, and ultimately lead to a better customer service experience.
Here are a few things to watch for when you first come in contact with contractors (content generated from www.fool.com):
- Scare tactics: "Well, your chimney looks about ready to fall over. If that lands on someone's head they're a goner. And you could have one dandy lawsuit."
- The hasty quote on a big job: "I figure $5,800 should do it," says the contractor as he glances at the complicated repair, then quickly scribbles a number on a scrap of paper."
- No identification: "Sorry. I forgot my business cards. You can always look us up at our post office box address."
- Refusal to provide referrals: "We don't give out customer names. We respect their privacy. You understand, don't you? I'm sure you wouldn't want me to give out your name to strangers."
- Pressure tactics: "You'll have to sign up now. The manufacturer says the prices are going up right away."
- In the neighborhood: "I've just resurfaced your neighbor's driveway and I've got materials left over to do yours. Looks like it needs work soon. I'll give you a really good deal."
- Up-front payment: "That's gonna involve a lot of materials. I'll have to ask you to pay me now."
- Refusal to provide a written guarantee: "If anything goes wrong, just call me. You have my word."
- Under the table deals: "I can give you a good deal for cash."
- Referral selling: "There's a big rebate for you if you refer customers to us." Or: "You'll get a special discounted price if we can use your home as a model to show off our work. We'll just put a sign on the front yard."
Here are some recently published media that highlight some of the top scams and also provide insight into recognizing scams by contractors:
Top ten scams of 2006 by consumeraffairs.com
Avoiding Contractor Scams by Danny Lipford
What To Do When A Contractor Scams You Or Does A Shoddy Job by AtlantaHomesSouth.com
Contractor Scams Explained by Mart Gil Abareta
Use your common sense to detect warning signs. Trust your instincts!