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This is a guide to common home repair scams and includes information on how to avoid becoming a victim. Presented by the Better Business Bureau.

This is a guide to common home repair scams and includes information on how to avoid becoming a victim. Presented by the Better Business Bureau.

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  • 1. Home Repair Scams Presented by the Tri-State Better Business Bureau
  • 2. Home Repair Scams
    • Every year, millions of Americans hire contractors for home repair projects and unfortunately some of them become victims of home repair scams. The BBB offers the following advice to help you avoid outright scams as well as frustrating disputes.
  • 3. Door-to-Door Scams
    • Home repair scams by traveling con-artists work like this: Con-artists stop at your door, give you a hard sell, and offer sensational low prices. It might be for roofing or painting, tree-trimming, or asphalting your driveway with material supposedly "left over" from a job nearby. The con-artists insist that you pay in advance -- but they do little or no work and never return. Remember, legitimate contractors very rarely solicit door-to-door. Be skeptical. The main rules are to check out a contractor, and never pay large sums in advance to a contractor you don't know.
  • 4. Beware of high-pressure sales tactics
    • Be wary of "today-only" discounts, offers to use your home as a "display home" for replacement siding or windows, and "lifetime warranty" offers that only last for the life of the company.
    • Always get several written estimates -- shop around for the best deal before making such a large investment.
  • 5. Check out a contractor before you sign a contract or pay any money.
    • Request local references -- and check them out.
    • Contact the Attorney General's Office to see if it has complaints (call 800 382-5516 or 317 232-6330)
    • Contact the Better Business Bureau (812-473-0202, or www.evansville.bbb.org.)
    • Contact your county clerk and ask how to check if a contractor has been sued by unsatisfied customers.
  • 6. Get Everything in writing
    • Before any work begins, agree on a written contract detailing work to be done, responsibility for permits, costs, and any other promises.
    • Ask for a copy of the contractor's liability insurance certificate.
    • Put start and completion dates in writing, and consequences if the contractor fails to meet them. (Example: the contract could be nullified if the contractor doesn't start on time.)
  • 7. Avoid paying large sums in advance If you don’t know the contractor
    • If you have to make a partial advance payment for materials, make your check out to the supplier and the contractor.
    • Insist on a "mechanic's lien waiver" in case the contractor fails to pay others for materials or labor.
  • 8.
    • Quick Check List Before selecting a remodeling contractor, you should do the following:
    • Plan your project from start to finish.
    • Be specific in explaining exactly what you want.
    • Be sure to approve any architectural plans that are involved before the contract work begins.
    • Compare costs before making a financial commitment.
    • Discuss bids in detail with each contractor.
    • Ask the contractor for local references and find out if he or she is a member of a professional remodelers association.
    • Contact your Better Business Bureau to learn how long a contractor has been in business.
    • Find out if a contractor is insured against claims covering worker’s compensation, property damage, and personal liability.
    • Check with state, county, or city housing authorities to be sure that a contractor meets all area licensing/bonding requirements.
  • 9. Always remember that if somebody offers you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • 10. Contact your local BBB:
    • Tri-State Better Business Bureau
    • 5401 Vogel Rd. Suite 410
    • Evansville, Indiana 47715
    • (812) 473-0202 or (800) 359-0979
    • www.evansville.bbb.org
    • [email_address]