Mo. AG Warns Residents of Home Repair Scams

April 1, 2005

Many homeowners consider springtime to mean the start of home repair and remodeling season.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous contractors see spring as the start of home repair ripoff season. Spring also brings the severe storm season, and damage from wind, rain or hail puts home repair in even higher demand.

Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon is reminding consumers to be careful when they hire contractors to do work on their homes. Nixon’s office in 2004 reportedly fielded nearly 1,400 consumer complaints relating to home repairs, many of which coincided with warmer weather or storm aftermath.

“This is the busiest time of the year for home repair scams, but there are some simple things Missourians can do to avoid problems with contractors doing repair or remodeling on their homes,” Nixon said.

Nixon suggests homeowners do the following:

* Get all estimates, guarantees and work dates in writing.
* Get a second opinion whenever possible.
* Avoid large payments up front.
* Be suspicious of door-to-door solicitors, especially those offering free inspections.
* Check ID before letting any worker into your home.
* Check the credentials of companies: check their references; verify their number and address in the phone book; check for county or other local permits; check for complaints with the Attorney General or the Better Business Bureau; check for business registration with the Missouri Secretary of State.
* Walk away from offers that are good “now or never.”
* Make payment only when the work meets the terms of your contract.

Nixon said unfortunately con artists often target the elderly, who often own their own homes. Many of these homes are older and do need repairs. There are plenty of good companies out there who can provide those repairs, according to Nixon, and Missourians just need to follow these suggestions to find them.

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