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How To Avoid Home Improvement Scams

Nov 28, 2007
Home improvement projects, especially those that require extensive knowledge or experience in the field of remodeling, may require homeowners to enlist the help of a professional. The unfortunate truth is that unless you are diligent in your search, you may end up falling victim to a scam. This article will attempt to show you how to protect yourself and your finances when it comes to hiring outside help.

First and foremost, be cautious when dealing with individuals who approach you on a door-to-door basis. Most legitimate businesses do not search for customers in this way, but instead use advertising as a way of reaching homeowners. If an individual does present himself/herself as being employed by or owning a home improvement business, ask for their name, telephone number and company name. With this information, you can confirm the individual's claim and also check to ensure the telephone number is a working one. In some cases, an individual may approach a homeowner, collect payment and leave their supposed name and telephone number, both of which are invalid. After being paid (in cash) in advance, the individual disappears and the customer has no way to reach them. If you are given a name and number, check it out before handing over any of your hard-earned money.

Speaking of payment, one of the best ways to avoid a home improvement scam is to refuse anyone's request for payment in cash. A legitimate business will accept check payments, but someone who has questionable intentions will not. Before submitting payment to any company for a service, it's wise to check out their reputation with the Better Business Bureau. This record will detail whether or not the company is a member, how long they have been in business and how many complaints have been filed. In addition, you will learn how any complaints were handled by the company and whether or not they were resolved satisfactorily in accordance with the Better Business Bureau.

Last but certainly not least, check to make sure the individual or company has worker's compensation. Don't just take their word for it; ask for proof. If you hire someone to do work on your property and they are injured on the job, you may be held financially liable unless the company has liability coverage and/or worker's compensation, so make sure that you see a copy of their coverage and follow up to confirm with the issuing company.

The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional financial and/or legal advice relating to home improvement scams or how to handle them. For additional information on this topic, consult with a legal professional in your area.
About the Author
Alex loves to hunt down free recipes on the web and also dabbles in wedding planning and collecting model cars.
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