Don’t Get Caught in a Fraudulent Home Improvement Scheme

Don’t Get Caught in a Fraudulent Home Improvement Scheme

Home improvement scams are something for which every homeowner should look out. Not only can these rip-offs cost the homeowner money for the scam itself, but they may also have lasting impacts that may require hiring an honest contractor to fix whatever was done by the dishonest contractor.

Some contractors may scam clients by asking them for cash up front. Don’t pay for work until it has been completed and never trust a contractor that claims to be professional yet demands only cash payments. In some extreme cases, dishonest contractors may even offer to drive their client to the bank to withdraw money. Some dishonest individuals may take the money and run so to speak, leaving the homeowner not only a little lighter in the wallet, but still in need of whatever home improvement work they were hoping to have completed such as roof painting and other projects.

Then there is the old bait and switch tactic used by dishonest contractors. They’ll use an advertisement in a local paper or elsewhere to advertise a service at an extremely low price only to up-sell the homeowner upon arriving on the property. Remember the old adage, if something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This can be so bad that some homeowners are unaware that they were charged more than the advertised price until they receive a final bill or invoice. Read any paperwork or contracts given to you before signing them and don’t allow work to begin until the details have been hammered out in writing. Even go as far as to research a company using the Better Business Bureau or other online review sites before hiring them.

One way to check whether a company is legitimate is by making sure that they have a real physical address. Sure some handymen may not have an office and many of these individuals are honest, upstanding individuals, but take a few minutes to check that the street address of an office is legitimate. Use your judgment; if you’re hiring an individual handyman, they may not have an office, but if you’re hiring a contractor claiming to have an office, check it out. Drive by the property or use a mapping service with a street view to make sure it isn’t an empty lot or another company’s office.

By definition, a scam is “a fraudulent or deceptive act or operation,” according to Meriam-Webster. They may not always seem obvious and scammers are looking to cheat trusting people, so be sure to keep your head up when hiring a roof painting contractor or other individual.

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