Preventing Contractor Fraud.
The federal government's Home Renovation Tax Credit has been a great success. Many homeowners are now taking advantage by remodeling their homes. Windows, doors, heating systems and insulation are the most popular reno's being carried out. It is a good time to cover an important issue like hiring the right contractor to do your work. Most contractors are honest, hardworking people, but unfortunately not all keep business above board. If you are considering hiring a contractor there are some things to watch out for to help prevent contractor fraud.
•1. The contractor wants all of the money up front. Never pay before the job is finished. You want to be able to get them to come back to correct any mistakes and complete the job to your satisfaction. There is no incentive for them to do the work if they have already received payment.
•2. Insist on a written estimate and receipts.
•3. They will only accept cash. If they will not take a cheque or credit cards, they likely do not want the money to be traced. A variety of payment options should be available. A legitimate company will be claiming their income with the government.
•4. Ask to see proof of Worker Compensation coverage. You can be held liable if someone gets hurt without this coverage.
•5. If they are soliciting door to door, this should cause you to ask questions. A business that is reliable and does good work is usually kept busy just by word of mouth.
•6. They offer especially low rates because your house has been chosen as a "demonstration" project.
•7. The contractor will not provide an address.
•8. You only get a special low price if you sign the contract today.
•9. They will not provide references. Always ask for references and contact a couple of them and always get a couple of quotes for any work or repair work. Don't pay for repairs that are not needed.