• Ways to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by a Residential Contractor

    Posted June 6, 2012 By in Uncategorized With | Comments Off on Ways to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by a Residential Contractor

    Every storm season there is extra emphasis placed on unscrupulous contractors. Regardless of the season, it’s important to take preventative measures to avoid fraudulent con men posing as legitimate residential contractors.

    •  Do not listen to double-talk.
      Most con artists will try to rush you into a decision. He or she may try convincing you the improvements are vital to maintaining or keeping your home. For example, if you want to patch your home’s roof, the con artist might try to rush you into a decision to fix the entire roof. Another scam move is claiming something needs fixing when it doesn’t.
    • Pay close attention to the contractor’s actions.
      Many scammers arrive out of the blue claiming your siding needs fixing or the roof needs work. Some may tell even say that you’ve won a home remodeling prize or a special deal. These claims are scams. Don’t fall for them.
    • Create a contract.
      Anyone who claims a contract isn’t necessary doesn’t want to complete the job—they just want your money. Always negotiate and get everything in writing, even for the smallest jobs.
    • Avoid contractors requesting the entire payment upfront.
      Payment should be given in stages for large contracts. For example, the down payment should range from 10 to 15 percent of the total cost of the job.
    • Requesting references is a good practice.
      You should call them too (some homeowners may fail to do so). Also, makes sure the references are in or close to the New Orleans area. Some fly-by-night contractors drift into New Orleans to scam homeowners out of money.
    • Check with the state and city officials.
      Contact the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors to make sure the contractors aren’t scam artists. Legitimate contractors have a license to work in the state.
    • Check the business location.
      You shouldn’t see a P.O. box or address outside the city as the business location. Legitimate contractors should have an office in or near New Orleans.

    These con artists are always lurking in the shadows ready for the next victim, even when storms haven’t hit the area. Of course, none of these preventive measures are totally perfect, but they help separate the bad guys from good contractors.

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