Most home-repair contractors provide quality work – with a guarantee – and are honest in their business approach. However, it is important to be aware of any individual or business that may be engaging in contractor fraud. These contractors usually show up after a major weather event, such as a hail storm, has gone through your neighborhood. Here are some ways to avoid problems associated with this type of scam:
- Be aware of any contractor working door to door in your neighborhood. Only use contractors who are well-established with a good reputation.
- Make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded, and insured, and request the documentation.
- Ask for references and check them out.
- Always insist on a written contract that includes the business name, address and phone number.
- Do not give any large amounts of up-front money. Demand copies of material receipts to verify that the quality of material is what was paid for.
- Never pay a contractor in full. Do not sign a certification of completion until all work is done to your satisfaction.
- Do not let yourself be pressured into signing any agreement. Do not sign a document with blank entries.
- Check with us, relatives, and friends to see if they are familiar with the contractor and would recommend their services.
- Never let a contractor persuade you to file a claim for nonexistent, manufactured or exaggerated services. This is insurance fraud and a crime.
Contractor fraud usually will cause you twice the amount in money, once to the fraudulent contractor and then again to a second contractor to finish or repair the work.
If you suspect any type of fraudulent activity from the contractor that you are using, please contact your agent, insurance company, the Better Business Bureau or the local authorities. (Information taken from an article written by Auto-Owners Insurance Company, May 2013)