Despite the increasing amount of information that’s available to the public to prevent home-improvement scams, many unsuspecting people still fall victim to swindlers each and every day, since scammers keep getting smarter as well. Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to folks to help them protect themselves. Today, we will share with you a variety of top tips from industry experts that will help you prepare for hiring a New Jersey home improvement contractor.
How to Avoid a Scam
Following are tips on how to avoid being caught in a home improvement scammer’s web. Remember that those who are affected by natural disasters, such as hurricanes, are especially at risk. So, it’s critical that you do your homework, starting with the tips provided below.
“Although using a web site or service that provides pre-screened contractors may minimize the risk of contractor fraud, it does not guarantee against it. Yet, many consumers can be lulled into a false sense of security by this type of “matchmaking” service, putting them at risk. Regardless of where you find a contractor, you should always vet them yourself.”
- The National Alliance Against Home Repair Fraud
Sites like Angie’s List can be helpful resources, but by no means should you put your complete trust in this type of service. Always, always, always check out a contractor yourself. Thoroughly vet him or her, even if the contractor was recommended by a friend.
“Through the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, homeowners can take the proper steps to ensure contractors with the proper certifications and registrations with the state are performing work on their homes. The Regulated Business Section of the consumer affairs division registers home improvement contractors, public movers and warehousemen, and telemarketers and it also keeps a list of license verifications for contractors.”
The story goes on to recommend that homeowners also visit the Better Business Bureau website to vet the contractors they’re considering hiring. The BBB rates businesses based on 17 factors, including how many complaints it has against it, including unresolved and serious complaints. Businesses can receive a grade between an A+ and F. Look for customers with high grades and few complaints. Pay special attention to unresolved complaints, which often signal that the company hasn’t taken any steps to address the situation.
“Ask the contractor for a copy of its insurance policy and declarations page and call the insurer to make sure the policy is still valid and has the same limits on claims. Be aware that the “aggregate limit” on the declarations page of the insurance policy is the total of all claims (including claims of the contractor’s other customers) that the insurance company can be liable to pay.”
- A bulletin from the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs
It can be tough to understand how to read an insurance policy and understand what it means for you in the event there’s a problem. Don’t hesitate to call the insurer, not just to ensure the policy is in force and accurate, but also to get clarification on what’s covered—and what’s not. In addition to getting this info, it’s imperative you keep written or electronic records of every communication you have with your contractor. Of course, you should certainly ensure you get—and keep—a detailed written contract as well.
Hiring a Reputable New Jersey Home Improvement Contractor
Now that you know how to avoid being a victim of a home improvement scam we hope you feel better equipped to protect and defend yourself against unscrupulous contractors. Now, you might be wondering how to find a reputable New Jersey home improvement contractor?
If so, look no further! George J. Keller and Sons has an A+ rating with the BBB, and we are more than happy to provide you with all the documentation and references you need to hire us with confidence. Call us today at 973-927-0963 to learn more!
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