Don’t get taken advantage of!
Avoiding contractor scams. Part II.
There are 3 scams that may literally come knocking at your door: The Driveway Scam, The Chimney or Roofing Scam, and The Home Improvement Loan Scam. Here’s what to look out for:
The Driveway Scam: Someone claiming to be a “contractor” will knock at your door claiming that they were working down the street, have leftover material, and noticed your driveway needs to be resealed, fixed, or repaired. They will quote you a low cost claiming they will only be charging you for labor. Once the work has been complete they will demand more money. If you refuse to pay they will threaten to call the police and report you for theft of services. After all, you didn’t sign any contracts or receive any receipts.
The Chimney or Roofing Scam: Someone claiming to be a “contractor” will knock at your door claiming that they were working down the street, and couldn’t help but notice that you have some kind of weather-related damage to your roof or chimney.
These scams are usually more popular right after a storm such as a hurricane, tropical storm, or tornado. They will prey on your worries about the roofing caving in, leaks, or the chimney falling. They will quote you a low price for a minor repair, and may even claim that they will bill your insurance or home warranty at no cost to you. They will do a minor repair and then ask for considerably more money, claiming that the damage was much more severe than it looked.
Again, if you don’t pay, they may threaten to call the police and report theft of services. Or they may attempt to bill your insurance or home warranty for their “work performed” wrapping you up a fraud situation.
The Home Improvement Loan Scam: Someone claiming to be a “contractor” will knock at your door to solicit doing an improvement to your home. He’ll offer financing through a lender he knows. You are rushed to sign quickly, without reading, or asked to sign blank pages. He may even threaten to leave work on your house unfinished if you don’t sign.
You sign the paperwork, only to realize that you’ve signed a home equity loan with a high interest rate, points and hidden fees. Later you realize the work on your home hasn’t been completed correctly, or not completed at all. Since the “contractor” has already been paid, by his friend the lender, he has no interest in completing the work to your satisfaction. Furthermore, the lender can put a lien on your home if you don’t pay.
So how do you avoid these and other scams?
The best way is to know what to look for. And if you have an older relative that owns a home, educate them on what to look for as well. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If you or a loved one has been taken advantage by a home improvement scam, you can contact your local consumer office to help mediate complaints, conduct investigations, and prosecute offenders of consumer laws. Find your local consumer office at www.usa.gov/state-consumer/texas
At Putnam Builders we rely on our quality reputation and presence in the community. If you’re considering a home improvement project, such as an addition, renovation, or are interested in building a custom home, please contact us for a FREE Consultation.
Putnam Builders has been building custom homes in Texas gulf coast communities for over 54 years.