Beware of someone knocking on your door offering you a great deal on home repairs or they may be an out-of-State contractor working an area damaged by a storm; you may be the target of a scam.

  • Use your home as a display/demonstration home

  • Contractor not from your local area

  • Requires advanced payment

  • Doing work in neighborhood have extra materials from another job

  • Scare or pressure tactics

  • Company has no address or Telephone number

  • Company/Individual not bonded/insured/licensed

  • Free or low cost inspection

  • Asks you to get any required building permits

  • Project includes financing

  • Low ball bid to get the job

  • Offers exceptionally long guarantees

  • Suggests you borrow money from a lender  the contractor knows

  • Only accepts cash payments

  • We have a special limited-time offer

  • Large cancellation clause

  • You are asked to pay for a significant percentage/all of the job in advance

  • Special % off repair without stating bottom-line price

  • Door to door person appears wants to give you free estimate to repair your roof

  • Refuses to give a written estimate or contract

  • Offers discounted price for referrals if you buy today

  • Requires advanced payment

  • Happen to have a new unit available on their truck

  • Playing up fears about disease from mold

  • Offer of a substantial discount if you buy a new unit now.

  • Offers you discounts if you find other customers

  • Talks too fast so as to confuse you and pressures you to sign a contract immediately



Precautions You Should Take   TOP


  • Contractor must be in charge of obtaining permits.

  • Contractor giving a quote without an doing an on-site assessment.

  • Contractor sends you a letter specifying that your roof needs repair.

  • Free Inspections always have strings attached.

  • Must have contract start and end dates.

  • Make sure that you have legal guarantees that exist during and after construction.

  • If wide spread damage in your area, be wary of someone pushing a cheap rate.

  • Do not sign a contract before your insurance company gives authorization.

  • Contractor offers to drive you to the bank to withdraw funds to pay for the work.

  • Beware of people charging a fee to help you complete disaster assistance forms, such as FEMA or SBA, or obtaining assistance checks (these services are offered free by those organizations).

  • Government Grant Offers for a fee (they never charge a fee).

  • Advance fee loans are illegal.

  • Avoid offers for free home water testing.


Scare Tactics                                         

  • Playing up fears about disease from mold.

  • Need to dig out your entire foundation and waterproof it.

  • Any type of work where a contactor claims it has to be done immediately.

  • Termites problems found but not from your pest service company.

  • Bathroom pipes are broken and need to be replaced - get a second opinion.

  • Individuals pose as inspectors, city officials or police and use scare tactics to try and force you to have repairs made on your furnace, chimney, water heater or the electrical wiring in your home-grt s reputable inspector

Credentials Are For Your Protection   TOP


  • Failure to present valid license and identification documents.

  • Contractor arrives in an unmarked vehicle, or seeks repair work door-to-door.

  • Determine how long the company been in business, ask for references and you determine by investigation if the company licensed, bonded, and insured in your State.

  • Check the complaint history with your county's consumer protection agency.

  • Insist on references from a contractor and check them to see if the work was done properly, on schedule, and within the contract price.

  • Ask to see its certificate of insurance, state or local licenses, liability workers compensation insurance and check if still valid.

  • Guarantee a legally binding warranty in writing.

  • Get a signed legitimate printed contract.

  • Don't sign any contract with blanks.

  • Pay only with check or credit card.

  • Check with your insurance company to make sure your policy covers the repairs and have your insurance adjuster estimate the damage and probable cost to repair.

Financial Issues Need To Be Checked Very Carefully   TOP
  • If you need financing to pay for home repairs, shop around first. Be wary of credit life insurance and credit disability insurance as these can be very expensive and are rarely needed.

  • Check all bills for phony or inflated charges that will make up your monthly payments.

  • Overdue balances error.

  • Insurance companies employ their own adjusters. They'll evaluate your property damage and help walk you through the claims process free of charge.

  • Service fees may just be made up to get unnecessary money from you

  • Adds phony charges to loan principle, only disclosed at pay-off and after accruing large amounts of interest.

  • Withholding some loan proceeds while forcing you to make monthly payments for the entire loan amount.

  • Foreclosing on borrowers who were in compliance with their loan terms.

  • Get at least three estimates.

  • When are payments due?

  • Get a lien release - if the contractor has your money but hasn't paid for the supplies, you will be liable for what is unpaid (get dual signature checks).

  • Altering the contract in the middle of the project.

  • Suspiciously low prices.

  • Don't pay for bids! Reputable contractors rarely charge you for bidding.

  • Don't pay extra when a contractor says the cost of materials has suddenly increased. 

Air-Conditioning Scams Are Easy To Do So Watch Out For These Scams   TOP


  • Your A/C gas is bad and must be changed

  • You need to purchase a new A/C unit because your old one is worn out

  • A/C needs to be topped off with Freon because it is low (does not find the leak)

  • Offer of a substantial discount if you buy a new unit now

  • Uses smaller diameter copper than the system requires or piece together copper tubes

  • Don't have to use a new condenser the old one will do just fine (wrong)

  • Doesn't evacuate the air conditioning system before putting in gas

  • Have a new unit available on truck at a good price

  • Use a lower SEER (efficiency rating) evaporator coil than the air conditioning is rated for.

  • Troubleshoot before requiring service: thermostat,  electrical breaker tripped, wintertime power shut off switch flipped and filters need changing.

  • Check if A/C is still under warrantee.

  • Always get a written estimate.


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