BBB warns of spring home improvement scams | Crime
CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - More than one and a half million consumers search the local BBB’s online directory each year to find businesses for specific projects and to check out businesses before they sign contracts. With warm weather, recent storms and a soft housing market, consumers are focused on home maintenance, remodeling and repair projects.
- Home improvements
- Heating & air conditioning
- Lawn maintenance
- Siding contractors
- Auto body repair
- General contractors
- Mortgage brokers
“Spring is the high season for home improvement projects,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “Unfortunately, it is also the high season for home improvement scams.”
The BBB advises homeowners to be wary of contractors who promise work at cut-rate prices.
“You need to do your homework before you hire any business,” said Bartholomy, “especially when you are hiring someone to work in your home, around your family.”
According to the BBB, consumers should hire a local contractor with a good track record of doing business locally.
There are hundreds of reputable contractors in our area who will deliver quality work, on time and within budget,” added Bartholomy.
BBB Checklist: 10 Tips for Hiring a Contractor:
1. Track record – Check out a company’s BBB rating and complaint history. You can search by company name, telephone number, or website.
2. Cost comparisons - Get at least three bids in writing.
3. Licensing - Check to see if the company you plan to hire has the proper licensing.
· N.C. General Contractors Licensing Board, click on Licensee Search
· S.C. Contractors Licensing Board, click on Licensee Lookup
4. Insurance - Verify the company’s liability insurance to protect you against damage.
· N.C. Dept. of Insurance - 1-800-546-5664 toll-free from N.C.
· S.C. Dept. of Insurance - 803-737-6180 or 1-800-768-3467 toll free from S.C.
5. References – Ask for references from the company’s last three jobs and check them out.
6. Written contract – Do not sign a contract until you haveread the terms and conditions, warranty and payment schedule carefully.
7. Deposit and payment – Final payment should not be made until the work is completed. Do not pay in cash; pay by check or credit card.
8. Warranty – Get warranty information in writing on products and installation.
9. Bonding – Be sure all workers are bonded to protect you against theft or damage.
10. Criminal history – Check out anyone you allow into your home to see if they have a criminal history.
· N.C. online offender search – online offender directory search
· S.C. Dept. of Corrections - instructions to obtain information on offenders
For more information, please visit www.bbb.org.
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