Home improvement season is upon us, and along with it comes unscrupulous individuals who will take advantage of the season to scam unsuspecting homeowners. Window replacement contractor Woodbridge Home Solutions shares insight on avoiding home improvement scams and what you can do if you are a victim.
Avoiding Home Improvement Scams
The best way to protect yourself from home improvement scams is by recognizing the signs that someone is trying to scam you. The following should raise red flags:
Legitimate contractors will always provide a written estimate shortly after the inspection. When you receive a written quote, ensure the contents match everything you’ve discussed with the contractor’s consultant. Make changes and corrections before you consider signing it. The contractor should give you ample time to review and sign the contract. If you feel you’re being pressured into signing it, it may be a scam.
Lack of Credentials
Vet a prospective contractor and make sure they have verifiable license and insurance information. The latter should include coverage for accidental property damage (liability insurance) and injuries (workers’ compensation). They should also have a physical address, not a P.O. box.
Full Payment Upfront
Legitimate remodeling and siding companies will never ask for the full payment upfront. A typical payment scheme begins with a downpayment. Subsequent payments are then made upon material delivery and other milestones, culminating in a final payment upon completion.
No References or Online Feedback
In addition to investigating a prospective contractor using the old-fashioned call-the-reference method, you should also check if the contractor has a profile on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website.
What You Should Do If You’re a Victim
If you feel that you’ve been a victim of a home improvement scam, you can turn to several organizations for help. One of these is the National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud (NCPHIF), which provides a detailed online resource for how to prevent and combat home improvement scams. Contact your local FBI branch and report your concern. Provide anything that may aid in locating the scammers, be it a business card, a phone number, or a photo.
Woodbridge Home Solutions is your leading provider of replacement windows and other exterior remodeling services.