Local BBB tips to avoid contractor scams this spring

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GREENVILLE, N.C (WNCT) — Spring is here and homeowners are looking to make some improvements. But with those improvements come smart planning and research.

In 2020, it’s reported that the median dollar loss in North Carolina was nearly $1,200. Experts say a major money loss factor is that people are connecting with faulty contractors. Consumer experts say when starting your home improvement projects, be sure to find someone reputable and licensed regardless of the cost of work.

“We really encourage that with any project, that you get a licensed contractor because they know the law. The was what permits to pull. They cross their T’s and dot their I’s,” said Catherine Honeycutt, with the Better Business Bureau of Eastern North Carolina.

Tips for Hiring a Contractor:

  • Watch out for “red flags.” Say no to cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, high upfront payments, handshake deals without a contract, and on-site inspections. Not all “storm chasers” are con artists, but enough are that you should be cautious any time a home contractor contacts you first…especially after a natural disaster.
  • Ask for references and check them out. Be leery of contractors who are reluctant to share this information. Check them out at bbb.org to see what other customers have experienced. 
  • Always get a written contract with the price, materials, and timeline. The more detail, the better. 
  • Know the law. Work with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing, and insurance. Confirm that your vendor will get related permits and make sure you know who is responsible for what according to your local laws and that your vendor is ready to comply.
  • Arrange a payment schedule. Never pay in full upfront. Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, not an individual, or that you use a credit card.

Do note that in North Carolina, a licensed contractor is only required for projects over $30,000.

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