From shoddy workmanship to “fly-by-night” unlicensed contractors, many people are scammed by roving con artists who knock on doors unexpectedly and offer unnecessary repairs.
Though they may appear genuine and helpful, these scammers often pressure homeowners into expensive, unneeded repairs for services such as roofing, gutter cleaning, driveway paving or tree trimming. In many cases, they take your money and don’t complete the work. In addition, admitting strangers into your home can also put you at risk of being robbed.
Reports of these scams increase during the aftermath of storms or natural disasters.
Red Flags of home repair scams:
- A low-price offer for the repair because they’ve “just done a job nearby and have materials left over”.
- A special deal that is only available on that day.
- A refusal to give a written estimate or a contract.
- Accepts only cash payments and demands the full amount up front. The business only has a post office box or an answering service and lacks a street address or telephone number.
- The person’s vehicle has out-of-state license plates.
The bottom line is this: if you need to have repairs made to your home, thoroughly research the contractor or business through an agency like the Better Business Bureau, and seek out at least three bids to complete the work.
If you believe you have been victimized by a home repair scam or wish to report suspicious activity, please file a report here. You may also wish to contact AARP Foundation ElderWatch by calling 1-800-222-4444, telephone option 2.