BBB warns of home improvement schemes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As warmer weather makes its way to New England, Better Business Bureau is warning residents to be aware of home improvement schemes.

Spring is notorious for being the time when homeowners make repairs and clean out their belongings — and BBB says that it is also a time for schemers to strike.

So far in 2015, almost half of the businesses most frequently inquired about on are related to home improvement.

These businesses include general contractors, roofers, painters and landscapers.

“Spring is a busy season for home improvement projects,” said Paula Flemming of BBB. “Unfortunately, it also becomes a high season for home improvement scams.”

In just a few months, the bureau has received more than 137,000 complaints and inquiries about home improvement businesses.

According to BBB, homeowners are advised to be on the lookout for contractors who promise work at discounted prices.

“Before hiring a contractor on the spot, be sure to do your research,” said Fleming. “There are many local contractors with a good track record that will deliver quality work on time and within budget.”

Homeowners are encouraged to:

  • Check Out a Business: Be sure to check out any business before hiring them.
  • Get Multiple Estimates: Make sure to get at least three quotes in writing before accepting an estimate.
  • Ask for References: Ask for at least two or three references from the business’s last few jobs and ask questions about the quality of work, if it was within budget and on time, and to the customer’s satisfaction.
  • Check Out Licenses: Check to see if the business is properly licensed in your state, if applicable. It’s also important to make sure any business you hire is properly insured.
  • Get Everything in Writing: Do not sign a contract until you have read it through entirely. Verbal agreements should be included in the written contract. Any deposit or payment plans should be included, as well as, any warranties or guarantees.

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