Home improvement season has arrived, and with it, new scams and rip-offs are sure to blossom. In a recent Consumer Advisory, the Iowa Attorney General's Office warms consumers to be cautious and follow these tips for protection against loss:
- Don't fall for the "knock-at-your-door" scam, where someone shows up at your house and claims that your home or property "needs" repair.
- Contact local references before signing a contract or paying any money. Research any complaints made through the Attorney General's Office, contact the Better Business Bureau, and check into any lawsuits involving the contractor.
- Get several written estimates, choose the best, and get a contract in writing. The contract should detail the work to be done, the price, who's responsible for permits, start and completion date, and any other terms. Ask for a copy of the contractor's liability insurance certificate.
- Avoid paying large sums in advance.
- Finance through your local bank or credit union, rather than a contractor.
For more information or to file a complaint, contact your state's Attorney General's Office.