(WTNH) -- You've heard it from News 8 and consumer experts frequently -- if something seems to good to be true, it probably is. That's certainly true when it comes to home improvement repair scams.
The website Scambusters.org lists a few of what it calls the most common home improvement scams, including the "Special Deal, Today Only" scam.
Says Scambusters; "Beware of a contractor who says he is just passing through the neighborhood, has materials left over from another job or wants his payment up front. These kinds of "repair" artists show up in droves after storms or other disasters that have damaged homes...
"Sometimes they talk a homeowner into unnecessary repairs. Or worse, if allowed to enter the home, some will create more damage so they can repair this as well!"
Other 'common schemes used to make a quick buck' include:
- Driveway Sealant
- Chimney Repair
- Hot Tar Roofing
- Duct Cleaning
Click on http://www.scambusters.org/homeimprovement.html for the full explanation and Scambusters' recommendations.
Another common scam involves chimney cleaning. The Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection issued an advisory on that back in the spring of 2010. "While chimney sweeping is not considered home improvement, the chimney sweep may find problems needing repair. Chimney repairs are home improvement, and anyone offering to perform chimney repair or replacement must have a Connecticut home improvement registration." Read more here.
The Better Business Bureau also warns against dealing with someone who says they have materials left over from another job. "This is a common ploy of fly-by-night operators or handymen who are based out-of-state and use their pick-up trucks as their place of business," the BBB says. Read more here
According to the Federal Trade Commission , home and business owners who truly need to hire a contractor should:
- Ask for copies of the contractor's general liability and worker's compensation insurance.
- Check the contractor's identification and references.
- Avoid paying more than the minimum in advance.
- Deal with reputable people in their communities.
- Call local law enforcement and the Better Business Bureau if you suspect a con.
If you want to know if a Connecticut contractor has a license, go to the Connecticut eLicense website at www.elicense.ct.gov and search by a contractor's name or look up a license number.
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