Don’t be Taken in by Home Improvement Scams
Sometimes they claim they can seal driveways for a fraction of the normal cost, or clean your gutters for an amazingly low price. Other times, they say they were driving by and saw bricks missing from your chimney, or bare spots on your roof where shingles have blown away. But in the end, the work doesn’t get done, never needed to be done, or is done so poorly that a few weeks or months later, things are no better than they were. These are all examples of home improvement scams.
The people who commit these crimes range from unethical contractors to organized criminal gangs that spend their summers moving from one town to the next, preying on the unwary. Law enforcement authorities report that every year thousands of homeowners lose money to these con artists. More often than not, their victims are those who can ill afford to be taken, like the elderly, or people with tight finances.
Fortunately, there are ways to avoid being scammed by them. Here are some approaches they typically use. Be on your guard when you hear any of these things:
- “I was working nearby when I saw a problem with your house” – This is one of the oldest routines in the book. The person says that they were doing some work on a neighbor’s home when they just happened to look at yours and spot some damage. Sometimes it’s missing roof shingles. Other times it’s loose bricks or crumbling mortar around your chimney. They offer to repair the problem on the spot, as long as they can get cash. But, almost every time, the issue doesn’t even exist. They pretend to do the work and beat a path out of town as soon as they get paid.
- “I’ve got just enough sealant left and I don’t want to waste it” – This scam takes place when someone comes to your door saying that they just finished a job nearby, usually sealing a driveway, and they have some sealant left over. Then they say they noticed that your drive could use it and offer to apply it the same day. In reality they never had another project. They want you to take the bait, after which they’ll do a rush job with inferior materials. A few weeks later, the sealant washes away when it rains, and the contractor is nowhere to be found. They’re in another part of the country, telling someone else that they’ve got just enough sealant left over…
- “I need payment up front” – This is always part of the scam. The con artist promises his victims all kinds of amazing things – as long as he can get the money before he does the work. Then he either never starts the job, or takes off for parts unknown leaving it uncompleted. The homeowner may call the police or even hire a private detective, but the crooked contractor is nowhere to be found.
If you’re ever approached by someone using these tactics, tell them “no thanks” in a firm voice and shut the door. If they try to pressure you, tell them that you’re calling the police, then do just that. Do not become a victim of one of these home improvement scams.
When you need a construction project done right, and for a fair price, call Easter Construction. We don’t get paid until you’re satisfied with the job. We’ve been part of the San Antonio business community for years, and we’ll happily let you check us out before we commence work. Honesty and integrity are the foundations of everything we do, and that’s the honest truth.