Things are not going well in New York. We have assembled a group of links that will enable the reader to obtain a current picture of the confusion that seems to have settled in following hurricane Sandy. We will not add comments to these except as tag lines. The situation is serious and even as aid is moving toward the devastation, the lack of citizen preparation is having truly dire consequences.
More storms may be on the way toward NYC, though hopefully not as severe. Give what you can to trusted charities, volunteer yourself, and pray for our nation. Things were not always like this in America.
How to avoid repair contractor fraud. New Yorkers will need this.
How do I avoid contractor fraud?
SBP has researched and identified specific tips to safeguard families from fly-by-night contractors who make homeowners’ road to recovery even more difficult.
1. Only hire licensed and insured contractors. Verify the track record of any roofer, builder or contractor you’re thinking of hiring. Ask for a list of recent customers and call them. To ensure a contractor is licensed in the state of Louisiana search for them here.
2. Get multiple estimates. Fraudulent contractors, especially when they approach seniors, will offer a “free” estimate to assess “problems” with your roof, siding, driveway, etc. The scammer will always find something wrong.
Avoid fraudulent contractors by obtaining multiple estimates for any “damage” to your home. Consult friends, family or neighbors to learn the names of contractors they’ve used in the past – ones they trust.
3. Estimates and contractors must be on paper. The typical scammer will “assess” problems at your home, and offer a verbal “quote” on how much these problems will cost to fix. Verbal quotes are not legally binding. If the contractor later charges twice his estimate – or damages your property during the “repair” process – it’s doubtful you could successfully sue the fraudulent contractor.
Legitimate contractors are certified, insured and/or bonded by the state and/or town in which you live. They will also offer documented estimates for you to inspect before work commences. Ask for explanations for price variations.
Before signing the document, ask a knowledgeable friend, relative or attorney to review a home repair contract before you sign. If you get a loan to pay for the work, be cautious about using your home as security (if you don’t repay the loan as agreed, you could lose your home). Consider asking an attorney to review the loan documents, as well.