After a storm, there is often a rush to rebuild and recover. It can lead to an increase in contractor fraud and abuse. Know the signs of fraud during times like this. Read below for some tips to help you avoid contractor fraud after a storm:
Do your research
Before hiring a contractor, make sure to research them thoroughly. Check their references, social media, and online reviews. Ask trusty people to see if anyone has used them before and how their experience was with them.
Get everything in writing.
Once you have decided, keep documentation on the contractor and services. Such includes scope of work, the timeline, and the price. You can refer to this throughout the whole process.
Pay attention to the details.
When reviewing the contract, pay attention to the fine print. Understand everything that the contractor does and does not include in the price.
Be cautious of high-pressure sales tactics.
Some contractors may pressure you into signing a contract before you are ready. Because of the stress, it could influence you to sign quickly. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you’re uncomfortable with the situation.
Never pay upfront.
Pay contractors in installments, rather than paying it all upfront. This will help protect you in case the contractor doesn’t complete the job.
Get multiple quotes.
Before choosing who to hire, it’s a good idea to get multiple quotes. This will help you decide on the best price.
Keep all records.
Make sure you keep all the records relating to the contractor. This includes the contract, invoices, and receipts. This will help protect you in case you need to file a complaint or take legal action later.
Inspect the work before they leave.
Do not let them leave before you inspect the work they did. Ask them to walk you through all the work that has been done and ensure that everything is working properly before they leave.
While you are urging to repair damage after a storm, be aware of the signs of fraud. Remember to take time to research, never rush to sign a contract, and pay attention to details so that you are not at risk of fraud. Call your state contractor licensing board and report any instances where you think a contractor has been exploiting you.