Six Tips to Avoid Contractor Fraud

Date Posted: Wednesday, November 14th, 2018

When seeking a contractor for a home improvement job, you should get estimates from at least three reputable contractors. You should also contact the Better Business Bureau for information about any previous complaints regarding their work. Make sure the contractor has a current mercantile license with the Town and is insured.

When structuring a payment schedule with the contractor, never make a full payment up front. You should always insist on a receipt for any payments you make. A reputable contractor will accept payments based upon the percentage of work completed.

Most reputable contractors will enter into a written agreement outlining the rights and responsibilities of each party, the work to be done, and the payment schedule. If a contractor refuses to enter into a written agreement, you may not have any legal remedies to future problems.

If you are approached by a “traveling” contractor who makes an offer that is too good to be true, be very careful. “Traveling contractors” commonly offer Home Improvement deals including driveway sealing, roof coating, and exterior painting. They will request a large cash payment up front and never return to complete the work. In most cases the work is of poor quality if they return at all.

Most reputable contractors do not solicit door-to-door. However, in Delaware, when you enter into a contract with a door-to-door solicitor, the law requires that you be given 72 hours to cancel a contract that involves $25 or more.

If a contractor starts a project but does not return to complete it, you should immediately alert the Consumer Protection Unit of the Attorney General’s office. An investigator will help you determine the appropriate course of action for your situation.

Be sure to contact the police if you see any suspicious door-to-door solicitors. It is important to contact the police if you feel that you are a victim of fraud.

Consumer Protection Unit 1-800-220-5424

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