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Spring is the high season for home improvement scams

Nearly three million consumers researched local companies through BBB’s online directory to check a business out before they signed a contract.

“As the weather gets warmer, consumers are turning their focus to home maintenance, remodeling and repair projects,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “So, it is not surprising that home and garden-related businesses dominate the list of top consumer searches.”

According to BBB, nine of the top 20 types of businesses that consumers in the Southern Piedmont are researching the most are home-related.

Most searched list of home-related businesses (in alphabetical order):

 

  • Home builders
  • Roofing contractors
  • Heating & air conditioning services
  • Plumbers
  • Contractors – general
  • Pest control
  • Painting contractors
  • Tree services
  • Electricians

 

“Spring is the high season for home improvement projects,” said Bartholomy. “Unfortunately, it is also the high season for home improvement scams.”

BBB advises homeowners to be wary of contractors who promise work at cut-rate prices or who show up at your door claiming that they are doing work in your neighborhood.

“You need to do your homework before you hire any business,” said Bartholomy, “especially when you are hiring someone to work in your home.”

According to BBB, consumers should hire a local contractor with a good track record of doing business locally.

“There are hundreds of local contractors in our area who will deliver quality work, on time and within budget,” added Bartholomy.

BBB Checklist: 10 Tips for Hiring a Contractor:

 

  1. Track record – Check out a company’s BBB review and complaint history. You can search by company name, telephone number, or website.
  2. Cost comparisons – Get at least three bids in writing.
  3. Licensing – Check to see if the company you plan to hire has the proper licensing.

N.C. General Contractors Licensing Board, click on Licensee Search

S.C. Contractors Licensing Board, click on Licensee Lookup

 

  1. Insurance – Verify the company’s liability insurance to protect you against damage.

N.C. Dept. of Insurance – 1-800-546-5664 toll-free from N.C.

S.C. Dept. of Insurance – 803-737-6180 or 1-800-768-3467 toll free from S.C.

 

  1. References – Ask for references from the company’s last three jobs and check them out.
  2. Written contract – Do not sign a contract until you have read the terms and conditions, warranty and payment schedule carefully.
  3. Deposit and payment – Final payment should not be made until the work is completed. Do not pay in cash; pay by check or credit card.
  4. Warranty – Get warranty information in writing on products and installation.
  5. Bonding – Be sure all workers are bonded to protect you against theft or damage.
  6. Criminal history – Check out anyone you allow into your home to see if they have a criminal history.

N.C. online offender search – online offender directory search

S.C. Dept. of Corrections – instructions to obtain information on offenders

 

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