Home Improvement Scams: How to Protect Yourself
Summer is home improvement season. And there will always be some unscrupulous individuals who will undoubtedly take advantage of the busy season to scam unsuspecting homeowners.
Read on as home improvement contractor Exterior Source shares advice on how to avoid these tricks in today’s post.
How to Avoid Home Improvement Scams
The best way to protect yourself from scams is to know and recognize the signs that someone is trying to bamboozle you. The following are some of the signs you should keep an eye out for:
Lack of Credentials — One of the reasons why you should never rush a home improvement project is because you need to make sure the contractor has a verifiable contractor’s license, bonds and insurance coverage. The insurance coverage should include coverage for liability insurance and workers’ compensation, which cover accidental property damage and workplace injuries, respectively. Avoid contractors who can’t provide (or won’t share) such information.
Full Payment Upfront — Beware contractors who ask for full payment before a single piece of fiber cement siding is delivered. A typical payment scheme begins with a down payment after signing the contract, followed by one or two more payments after milestones. The final payment will be required shortly after the project is satisfactorily completed.
Verbal Estimates — Legitimate contractors will never provide verbal estimates. You should expect to receive a written estimate shortly after your consultation, if not on the same day. You should also be given ample time to ask questions and make revisions to it. If the contractor refuses to provide a written estimate or if they’re pressuring you to sign within a day or two, don’t do business with them.
No References or Online Feedback — Many businesses have yet to catch up with having a proper website, but a legitimate business should at least be able to provide recent local references. A legitimate contractor should at the very least have a profile on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Website.
What You Should Do If You’re a Victim
If you have been a victim of a home improvement scam, there are organizations that you can turn to for help. One of these is the National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud (NCPHIF), which provides an updated online resource on preventing, combating and reporting home improvement scams. Report such scams to your local FBI branch and provide anything that may aid in locating and identifying the scammers, such as business cards, a photo or any documentation they may have provided.
Exterior Source is your leading provider of vinyl siding and other home remodeling services. Give us a call at (804) 275-5323 () and (757) 464-2060 (Tidewater). You can also fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment.