Home Improvement/Repair Scams

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Home Improvement/Repair Scams

Home Improvement/Home Repair Scams

 

Scam artists can show up at any time, but particularly tend to do so after a disaster (such as a hurricane). Currently, unlicensed contracting is a felony as provided in Florida State Statute 489.

The following tips will help you avoid being targeted by potential home improvement or repair scam artists:

DO hire someone from a local and reputable company for any repairs or home improvements. Ask friends, co-workers or neighbors for referrals if they have recently had work done.

DO get written estimates from several firms.

DO be cautious of anyone soliciting for work door-to-door, pressuring you for an immediate decision, or requesting payment in full up-front. 

DO read any and all documents prior to signing an agreement.

DO make sure the work is completed to your satisfaction prior to payment in full.

 

DO obtain a “release of lien” from the contractor once the work is complete. This protects you from any responsibility for payment in case the contractor did not settle the bill with building material suppliers.

 

DON’T trust any potential contractor that suggests the permits be obtained by you. This usually means the potential contractor cannot obtain one. The building official checks licensure, insurance and worker’s compensation insurance prior to approving a permit.

 

DON’T fall for financing offers made by contractors. These can be a home equity loan with high interest and payments. The contractor is paid by the lender, and may not have much interest in returning for completion of the work.

DON’T trust salespeople that use scare tactics and threats like “your roof will fall in if it’s not done today”.

Deal only with licensed contractors. The work of unlicensed contractors is usually substandard and ends up costing much more in the long run. Once you have decided on a contractor:

Keep good records- all paperwork related to your project should be kept in one place including:

  • Copies of the contract
  • Log or journal of correspondence with the contractor.
  • Take photographs as the job progresses. These items may be very important if you have a problem with the project.

 

If you do have a problem:

  • Try to work it out with the contractor
  • Follow up any phone conversations with a certified letter, so you have documentation that the letter was received.

 

You can also contact the Building Department at 321-727-3377, Brevard County Licensing Regulation and Enforcement Office at 321-633-2058 or the Department of Business and Professional Regulation at 407-245-0750 or 850-277-9577 for further guidance.