7 Ways to Spot a Home Repair Fraud In Making
A check of the registrar of contractors can help you determine if you’re working with a legitimate repairman (Getty Images)
Monsoon season is often the time of year when scam artists specializing in phony home repairs are likely to be operating in Arizona.
These folks try to talk you into letting them fix storm damage to your house or yard or they want to repaint your home. Maybe they offer to repair your asphalt driveway at cut-rate prices. But they often end up doing shoddy work or no work at all.
Here are seven situations to be suspicious about. You can generally avoid them by always checking the name and license number of a business or person with the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, although sometimes you have to do more detective work.
1. SOMEONE RINGS THE DOORBELL AND CLAIMS TO BE DOING REPAIRS IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD
In fact, these friendly repair folks may actually be working next door. But in many cases, they eventually leave the area without finishing anyone’s job or after making a few repairs with defective materials. They could have come to town after hearing about flood or storm damage in Arizona.
2. SCAM ARTISTS SOMETIMES USE REAL NAMES AND STATE LICENSE NUMBERS OF LEGITIMATE COMPANIES
Be especially suspicious about anyone who approaches you unsolicited; check the license numbers by phone or online with the Registrar of Contractors. You also need to get the phone number of the real business, and call it to see if the contractor is an actual employee.
3. THE PHONY REPAIR PEOPLE WANT CASH UP-FRONT
They often ask for immediate payment or say they might have to leave town tomorrow if they don’t get work. If they return to start your job, they ask for more cash as time goes on, but they generally end up skipping town. Sometimes they ask for money to help with medical or family expenses. Protect yourself by never paying any contractor in cash. Never go to the bank with them to get money out of your account. Only write checks to legitimate businesses or contractors with valid licenses.
4. MANY JOBS THESE BAD GUYS PROMISE TO DO INVOLVE ASPHALT PAVING, SIDEWALK REPAIR, PAINTING OR ROOFING REPAIR
Often they go up on the roof, claim to find a problem and then claim to fix it. But unless you go up and check, you can’t be sure they really did any work.
5. THE PRICES THAT THESE BOGUS WORKERS QUOTE FOR JOBS ARE OFTEN VERY LOW
If the estimate seems too good to be true, it probably isn’t real.
6. SCAMMERS WORK BY PHONE AS WELL
They may pose as employees of local utilities and phone you threatening to turn off power in a couple of hours if a payment is not made immediately on a bill. They request payment via credit card or some kind of prepaid card. No legitimate utility would ever approach you in this way.
7. BE WARY OF ADS FOR REPAIR PEOPLE OR REMODELERS THAT YOU SPOT ONLINE OR IN TELEPHONE BOOKS
Those ads are not always regulated by publishers or Web sites. The only sure way to know if your contractor is licensed is to confirm it with the Registrar of Contractors. Sometimes a local number you think you are calling is being answered by a telemarketer in some other state.
The key idea to keep in mind: Always do research before hiring someone to repair or remodel your home. Homeowners need to be more vigilant. “Sometimes homeowners spend more time choosing a cell phone plan than hiring someone to work at their house,” according to Jeff Fleetham, director of the state’s Registrar of Contractors.
For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 25 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program heard locally in Phoenix on KTAR-FM (92.3) from 7-11 a.m. Consult our Web site for other listings. Call 888-767-4348.
StreetScout article can be found at: http://www.streetscout.com/news/article/rosie-house-7-ways-spot-home-repair-fraud-making