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Contractor Scams Explained

by Mart Gil Abareta

Just like in your personal belongings, you always want your homes to always look good, be organized, and receive good impressions from other people. Every time, little repairs such as leaks, broken window glasses, etc. need to be done, you are always pressured to fix these things immediately. And because of this, contractor scams happen to you sometimes without your knowledge. It will only be later that you'll realize that you have been fooled by these fraudulent individuals.

How do contractor scams happen? Well, it's something like this…

First, a contractor calls on the phone or knocks on your door and offers to install a new roof or remodel your kitchen at a price that sounds reasonable. You tell him you're interested, but can't afford it. He tells you it's no problem – he can arrange financing through a lender he knows. You agree to the project and the contractor begins work.

At some point after the contractor begins, you are asked to sign a lot of papers. The papers may be blank or the lender may rush you to sign before you have time to read what you've been given to sign. You sign the papers. Later, you realize that the papers you signed are a home equity loan. The interest rate, points and fees seem very high. To make matters worse, the work on your home isn't done right or hasn't been completed, and the contractor, who may have been paid by the lender, has little interest in completing the work to your satisfaction.

Truly, this is terrible! Giving away a little of your trust to these people to simply do little repairs in your homes will later cost you a lot. The worst thing – you'll not even get the right service that you deserve. A big headache, really…

Know what, not all contractors operate within the law. I have here are some tip-offs to potential rip-offs. A less than reputable contractor solicits door-to-door, offers you discounts for finding other customers, just happens to have materials left over from a previous job, only accepts cash payments, asks you to get the required building permits, does not list a business number in the local telephone directory, tells you your job will be a "demonstration", pressures you for an immediate decision, offers exceptionally long guarantees, asks you to pay for the entire job up-front, and suggests that you borrow money from a lender the contractor knows.

After reading this article, I just hope that nobody else will become a victim of these contractor scams. Let us all be careful even with the small things – such as these home repair stuff – we engage with.


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