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How to Avoid Being the Victim of Contractor Fraud

February 26, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 83

It is inevitable that once a disaster hits, along with the clean up crews and utility trucks rolls in the construction companies. They travel far and wide to be the first responders after the chaos has subsided. Suddenly, you will have fliers in your mailbox and solicitors at your door vying for your business. So how do you decipher which companies are legitimate and which to avoid?

When an event takes place that results in damage to your home, you will likely need to hire a contractor. For most, this may be the first time you have had to deal with this type of situation. Where do you begin? Who can you trust? While it is true that there are many good quality companies out there, for every reputable contractor there is a shady one just waiting to make a quick buck.

There are a few steps you can take to protect yourself from being scammed. First, beware of out-of-state companies that pop up overnight. You want to hire someone that has a solid reputation and proven track record in your area. You also want to verify that they have a physical address for their company, are not working out of the back of a truck and have been established for some time.

Second, do not fall for the too-good-to-be-true offer. If a contractor comes to your door and offers you new roof for $199, chances are you are going to be out $199 and still have a damaged roof. Be sure to get a few estimates before deciding on a company and once you make a decision, get everything in writing.

Next, ask for references. It is a huge red flag if a company is hesitant to give you references from past customers and vendors. You want to hire a contractor that has a solid reputation in your area with satisfied customers. You also want to be sure that he is in good standing with his vendors. Further, find out who will be performing the work at your home.

Finally, get it in writing. Always have a thoroughly written contract that is agreed upon by both parties. It should outline clearly what the scope of the project is, the cost for materials and labor, when the job will begin and an estimated date of completion. All warranties on workmanship should be clearly stated so that there is no confusion on either end. Avoid putting down more than 50 percent for a deposit and keep a paper trail of all transactions between you and the construction company.

Getting through a natural disaster is traumatic enough without having to further suffer through being scammed by a contractor. Know the signs and use caution and common sense when hiring someone to come in and repair your home.

Also note that this type of fraud can occur at any time and not just following a widespread event.

Find reputable contractors by visiting

Source: EzineArticles
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