With more than $500 billion a year spent on remodeling and home improvement projects, it's no surprise that scammers follow the money trail. Unfortunately, many of these contractor scammers are very polished in their presentation and home owners don't discover the truth until it's too late.
One scenario where homeowners are extremely vulnerable is after a disaster, such was the case in the Ringgold tornado in 2011. Contractors and others will often go door-to-door in neighborhoods, which have sustained damage to offer clean up and/or construction and repair services for their homes. Most of these business people are reputable, but some are not. The dishonest ones will try to execute schemes to defraud innocent victims. Schemes consist of pocketing the payment and never show up for the job, never completing a job that was started after receiving payment, use inferior materials and perform shoddy work not up to code in order to pocket more profit.
Here are 3 contractor-scam warning signs to help protect you and your Chattanooga home:
1. Scare tactics. If a contractor tries to scare you into doing business with them, avoid him. Plain and simple. For example: If a Chattanooga roofing contractor tells you, "After looking at your roof, it's condition looks like you could develop some leaks within the next year," that is a professionally based judgment; however, "You are in real danger because your roof is about to cave in any minute" is a major red-flag scare tactic.
2. Big Job/Quick Quote. If someone is a legitimate Chattanooga roofing contractor, he or she will operate professionally, including a written estimate based on inspection of your roof. A detailed written quote is a gold-standard you should expect. If a "roofer" shows up on your doorstep and throws out a number quickly or writes it down on the back of a makeshift business card, you can save yourself unnecessary difficulties and unneeded processes by avoiding doing business with this potential scammer.
3. Referrals? What referrals? If a Chattanooga roofing company refuses to provide referrals for you to contact to review their work, you should again avoid these companies. Legitimate roofing contractors in Chattanooga should have no issue in providing referrals (with the customer's permission) to satisfied customers.
Our best advice, in any contractor situation, is to never hire a contractor on the spot, whether it’s a landscaper with extra plants he is trying to get rid of, an "emergency repairman" who reaches your doorstep after a major natural disaster, or a driveway repairman who has extra product and will redo your driveway for an unbelievably cheap price (if you agree on the spot). Above all, take your time to check contractors out to make sure they have a good reputation and do quality work. (Need a roof replacement for your Chattanooga Home?) And one final tip, if something doesn't seem right, trust your instincts. It's better to be safe than sorry.