(WFRV) – Have you looked outside or stood at the end of your driveway and thought, “I need a new driveway.”, you’re probably not alone, but the Better Business Bureau is asking customers searching for that repair job to keep a lookout for scams.
According to the BBB, they’ve received numerous reports of alleged contractors who trick homeowners with ‘good deals’, but customers end up with bad work or simply nothing at all.
This is how the scam works: A contractor leaves a pamphlet or shows up at your door claiming they’ve done work in the area and noticed the condition of your driveway or sidewalk. They move onto a possible discount, pricing and a large percentage of the cost upfront.
Once you agree, the alleged contractor may disappear, the contact number or email might not work either. There are other cases where the work is done but is unprofessional – however, full payment has already been made.
How can you avoid contractor scams, according to the BBB?
- Be wary of unsolicited offers – most scams involving contractors begin with them going out of their way to offer an estimate.
- Reasearch companies and contractors before you hire – if the contracator has negative reviews and complaints, don’t hire them.
- Get everything in writing – ask for an estimate before payment, a description of the work being done, payment arragments and warranty information.
- Stagger payments – Make an arragement to stagger payments, while most contractors will require a percentage of the total price up front, it should never be in full.
- Use safe payment methods – Paying with credit cards provides some peace of mind but if you write out a check, make sure it’s to a company and not an individual.
Here in Northeast Wisconsin, an elderly couple had fallen victim to a contractor’s scam when two unknown Hispanic men showed up at the couple’s home unsolicited and offered to seal their driveway. The couple paid the men $3,000 after being concerned they’d be physically harmed if they didn’t pay.
You can find more information on similar scams and how to avoid them on the Better Business Bureau website.