Homeowners beware

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

With the arrival of spring, numerous contractors become busy with home repairs and improvements. Most such businesses are legitimate. Unfortunately, there are some that are not.

Scam artists move from home to home and from town to town to take advantage of homeowners by promising much and delivering little or nothing. They might offer a free inspection of a foundation, furnace, roof or other structure, then report urgent problems that are likely non-existent.

Elderly people are frequently the target of these unscrupulous predators but any homeowner is a potential target.

The best way to avoid being taken advantage of by these people is to never agree to an unsolicited proposal from somebody who just shows up at your door. If you are considering having such work done, request contact information about the company, including address and telephone number, and directly contact the company.

It is best to use a contractor that has a permanent address in your community or a nearby community. Not having a permanent address and phone number is an almost certain indication that the contractor is bogus.

When contacted by a person you believe to be a scam artist, contact the police. Just making a proposal to do home improvement work might be a violation of local ordinances or state law when the person making the proposal is not licensed to do the job.