Home Repairs and Improvements
Home repair scammers often target older homeowners. They may go door-to-door to solicit business and then overcharge consumers, do a shoddy job, or take the consumer’s money without ever completing the repair (and sometimes without even beginning). Here are some tips on avoiding scams and finding reputable contractors:
- Be wary of door-to-door solicitations for home repairs, particularly if accompanied by high-pressure sales tactics or insistence that you pay for the job up-front in cash.
- If your home sustained damage, contact your insurance company first to make sure repairs are covered by your policy.
- Ask friends, neighbors and coworkers for referrals.
- Get written estimates from at least three different contractors.
- Ask contractor for references.
- Check with the Better Business Bureau (bbb.org) to see if any complaints have been filed against the company.
- General contractors, electricians, plumbers and heating and air conditioning contractors must be licensed through the Secretary of State. Go to www.sos.ga.gov to verify that a contractor has a valid, up-to-date license. Note that roofers, painters, drywall contractors and repair handymen are not required to be licensed by the state.
- Ask to see the contractor’s business license and then check with the county or city business license department to make sure it is valid.
- Always insist on a contract for work to be performed, with all guarantees, warranties and promises in writing. Agree on start and completion dates and have them written into the contract. Read the contract carefully before you sign.
- Ask to see proof of insurance (personal liability, workers’ compensation and property damage).
- Do not make final payment until the work is finished and you are satisfied with the results.