Tips

Six ways to spot a contractor scam

Wednesday, February 6, 2019by  PEMCO Insurance

​Your home is a place where you can leave your worries at the door. But choose the wrong contractor, and you could accidentally invite a problem in! You'll want to say "No thanks" to a contractor who:

  1. Uses high-pressure sales techniques, including special pricing if you sign up today. They may knock on your door and, for example, say they just finished a driveway job in the neighborhood and will give you a cut rate to use up leftover material.
  2. Asks you to sign anything before you have hired them. If they ask you to sign an "estimate" or "authorization" before you've decided to hire them, be aware that you could unintentionally be signing a binding contract. 
  3. Does not provide a complete written bid.
  4. Has references you can't verify.
  5. Accepts only cash or wants significant payment upfront.
  6. Asks you to obtain building permits. (In almost all cases, the contractor, not the homeowner, is supposed to do that.)

The good news is, Washington and Oregon have plenty of skilled, ethical contractors. For help in finding them, see lni.wa.gov in Washington and www.oregon.gov/CCB in Oregon.

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