Beshear: Warm Weather Brings Seasonal Home Repair Scammers
With temperatures on the rise, Attorney General Andy Beshear is asking Kentuckians to use caution when hiring door-to-door contractors that promise too-good-to-be-true deals. Beshear says those “deals” can quickly turn into home improvement scams.
Over the past two years, Beshear’s office has received nearly 400 home repair scam complaints from Kentuckians in 25 counties, including Boone, Caldwell, Fayette, Franklin, Grayson, Jefferson, McCracken, Shelby and Warren Counties.
Fly-by-night businesses and door-to-door scam contractors take advantage of the home repair season by guaranteeing low prices and requesting upfront payment. But those contractors provide low-quality work or never complete the work, Beshear said, and sometimes demand thousands more than the agreed upon price.
Last week, Beshear’s office recovered $7,000 for a Marshall County resident who was quoted a low price and then overcharged for gravel work once the job was completed.
“Often saying they are working in your neighborhood, scam contractors offer ‘special deals’ on home improvement services that usually end with Kentucky families losing their hard-earned money,” Beshear said. “Kentuckians should never agree to a ‘today-only’ deal and should always check references and receive multiple estimates before signing a contract.”
According to Bruce Gadansky, chief operating officer for the Better Business Bureau (BBB) serving Louisville, southern Indiana and western Kentucky, state residents should use trusted local contractors.
“They’ll tell you they just happen to be in the neighborhood sealing driveways, or repairing roofs and they’ll give you a too-good-to-be-true price to do shoddy work and then attempt to charge you three times as much as they quoted,” Gadansky said. “If they come knocking on your door, no matter how much they want in, do not let them into your home. Use local contractors established in your community, those who work and live where you do. Check out your prospective contractor at bbb.org or call your local BBB.”
In addition to remodels and home improvements, the second most frequently reported scam involves roofing contractors.
Beshear said not all door-to-door salespersons are scammers, but Kentuckians should exercise caution. Before committing to a door-to-door sales pitch, take time to follow these tips:
Be wary of a low price quote
If you receive an unusually low price quote, be suspicious. Before you complete any large home improvement project, consider getting multiple quotes from different contractors.
Verify and check online reviews
Verify that the contractor or business is registered to do business in Kentucky, also check business licensing requirements with your city or county government. Verify online reviews through the BBB, and ask for ID and contact previous customer references.
Avoid upfront payment
If a contractor asks for upfront payment for a small home improvement job, this should trigger a red flag. Often times, very large projects require some type of upfront payment, but only after the contractor is properly screened and a guarantee contract is signed.
Do not fall for high-pressure tactics
Do not rush into making a decision. Tell the salesperson you need to discuss with your family, or you are not interested. Ensure any agreement is in writing and tell the salesperson you will review the agreement and get back in contact with them.
One of Beshear’s top priorities is to protect Kentuckians, especially senior citizens from scams, abuse and exploitation. Beshear said the best way to stay ahead of con artists is to be aware of new and trending scams by signing up to receive Scam Alerts from the Office of the Attorney General.
Scam Alerts provide Kentuckians a direct alert, including tips on how to avoid scams reported in Kentucky. To enroll, text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.
To report a scam contact the Attorney General’s Office at 888-432-9257 and file a complaint online.
When Kentuckians fall victim to scams and bad business practices, Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection is there to help them recover. Beshear’s administration has returned more than $2 million to Kentuckians, averaging nearly $2,600 a day back in the pockets of Kentucky families.