You may neglect to take precautions when hiring a contractor, if you hire someone who does not get the project done in a reasonable time and who is not professional and may deliver bad job, as a rule are plain scammers, who seizes the opportunity to make easy money!
Contractor fraud often costs the victim twice at the end, because then you have to pay a legitimate firm again to bring the work up to standard or repair the damage.
Contractor Fraud Definition
Contractor Fraud – illegal business practices committed by firms hired to repair, reform, renovate or build housing and properties. Contractor fraud is typically carried out by smallfirms assuring rapid repairs or upgrades in short times and for lower market prices. The work is usually poor quality, redundant or may even cause damage to previously undamaged parts of a residence. The victim of contractor fraud is often pressured into paying for the work through threats and intimidation.
Tips to Avoid Becoming a Victim of Contractor Fraud
So, when looking for contractors or professional repair specialists for your property, it is important to be careful in choosing the right person or company. Here are some simple tips that can help you to avoid fraudsters.
- Be cautious of contractors who will offer fast repairs at cheap prices. Try to get at least three separate estimates for your project to determine an average price for your repairs.
- Verify the company information. Every time confirm the existence and status of the company with your state’s division of corporations.
- Check the company website. Once you confirm the existence and status of the company, visit the firm’s website to verify that the contact details and services match those that were provided to you by the contractor.
- Verify that the person actually works for the company. After determining the correct contact information, it is suggested to call directly and verify that the person does actuality work at the company.
- Confirm licensure and certification status. Ask for a copy of the credentials and check against the records maintained by the appropriate state and/or local licensing authority. When presented with a license that does not contain a photo, ask to compare the personal information to the individual’s driver’s license.
- Ask for proof of insurance and workers’ compensation coverage. Make sure to obtain a copy of the insurance policy for your records. The contractor will also require active workers’ compensation coverage for any employees joining him on the project.
- Determine the need for special permits. Before undertaking any repairs, determine whether you will need to obtain any home improvement or building permits. If so, check that the contractor has obtained the necessary permits before beginning any work.
- For your protection get a written estimate and written contract. Read the estimate and contract carefully and do not sign anything unless you fully understand what is contained in the documentation. Obtain copies for your records.
- Check references, customer review websites, and business complaints. Ask the individual to provide the contact information of prior clients and contact them for a reference on recently completed projects. Contact the Better Business Bureau and your local Chamber of Commerce to see if any customers have lodged complaints against the contractor.
- Confirm that repairs will be covered by your insurance. Make sure your carrier will cover what the contractor is proposing and verify the carrier’s documentation requirements so you are not caught with fees that will not be reimbursed under your plan.
If you think you’ve been taken advantage of by contractor fraud,take steps immediately to remedy the situation. Talk to a lawyer first, to get an idea of what you need to do to get compensated. If you do not know where to turn for legal help, Legal Bistro is a great place to turn. The service is 100% free for consumers and more importantly, you may post your case anonymously. Our business is built on the belief that When Lawyers Compete, you Win!