Beware: Home Improvement Scams
Did you know, in 2016 over 32,000 home improvement-related scams were reported to the Better Business Bureau (BBB)? The average cost of these scams was $1400. Be prepared to avoid falling victim to dishonest contractors, repairmen, or other service professionals.
Always use a licensed contractor. Even if a contractor comes with stellar recommendations, ask to see a license before work begins. Most states have online databases to verify license status. If you found your contractor through another source, other than a recommendation, ask for references.
Check contractor affiliations. Most contractors will be members of professional organizations to help build their business. If your contractor is not a member of organizations like the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, this could be a red flag. In order to join these organizations, contractors have to pass a certain level of scrutiny.
In the event that a homeowner does suspect a scam, the next steps should be to file a complaint with the state’s Contractors License Board or Consumer Protection Agency, and also the BBB. Doing homework ahead of time, like checking licenses and reviewing company websites, can prevent costly litigation after the work is or is not completed.