Home Improvement Scams to Avoid

Scams are unfortunately increasing over the years. We all know someone who has either been scammed or been targeted with a scam. The Better Business Bureau showed over 45,000 reported scams in 2018, and those are just the reported ones[1], there were likely many more that went unreported.  The home improvement industry is not immune to scams. Here are some common home improvement scams to look out for and avoid.

Storm Chasers

Not the storm chasers you’re thinking about. Unlike traditional storm chasers, the ones we’re talking about show up after a storm has hit. Home improvement storm chasers or disaster chasers, show up to areas affected by natural disaster to offer their services. These scammers show up and offer cheap and quick services to fix whatever damage your home suffered. After storms, reputable companies are probably very busy and have long lines, so they take advantage of your desperation to do shoddy work. They disappear before you even realize they’ve done more harm than good.

Free Mold Check

Someone shows up at your door and offers to give you a free mold check. Don’t let them in, unless you’ve consulted and specifically set an appointment for a mold check. What usually happens is they offer free mold testing and when you let them in, they always find some mold whether you actually have mold or not. They would offer to fix it for you immediately.  No homeowner wants to be living with mold so you’re more likely to agree to the same-day fix. These scam contractors usually will cause damage instead of actually fixing anything and then disappear with your check before you’re realized the damaged caused.

In some cases, the person is not a contractor at all but rather a burglar wanting to take a closer look into your home. So, remember to be cautious with this and only do a mold inspection with a reputable company that you set an appointment with.

Leftover supplies

These scam contractors show up at your house and claim they have some leftover supplies from a previous job in your neighborhood. They will offer you a discount on the labor and supplies to work on your home. Trusty companies and contractors usually don’t roam trying to find a customer to sell their extra supplies too. Additionally, most contractors know how much is needed for a job and order the right amount. Leftover supply contractors are more likely to do a shoddy job or just take your money and disappear.

Permit Avoidance

If a contractor or company ever suggests not getting a permit for a job that requires one, run. This is a big red flag. This means they don’t want anyone taking a closer look at the job they’re doing. Which means they might be doing a shoddy job. Never cut corners, don’t hire unlicensed or uninsured contractors. If you do, you’ll be paying a bigger price down the line.

Always get everything in writing. From the number of supplies, exact costs, liability, to timeline of the job, verbal agreements are never enough. Make sure you’re covered always, and always do your research before hiring a contractor. Read our blog for more on how to hire the right contractor for your project.

[1] https://www.bbb.org/scamtracker/us

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