Home repair scams can be avoided

Repairing your home is a good thing, but lost dollars on shoddy or nonexistent repairs is to be avoided! National Consumer Protection Week, March 4-10, is a time to learn to be a good consumer and not a victim.  According to the Better Business Bureau, “red flags” that will help you spot a scam include: cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, high upfront payments and handshake deals without a contract. Be cautious if you are approached by someone you have never seen before who claims to be ‘working in the neighborhood.   Always ask for references from anyone seeking to do a job on your property and follow up by speaking to other customers or inspecting the quality of work firsthand. Dishonest contractors and/or potential scam artists may become less enthusiastic about any potential project if they are put on notice that you’re going to be a smart consumer.”  If you have been scammed or suspect a scam, try to get the “contractor’s” license plate or other identifying information and contact the local police.  There are several ways to help yourself and others:

• The Better Business Bureau has a Scam Tracker Program where individuals can report a scam or check one out.

• The Better Business Bureau also provides a sensible list of 10 steps to avoid scams

• The U.S. Government has a consumer complaint web page that provides detailed information on filing fraud claims.

If you think you’ve been the victim of a contractor scam, contact the Minnesota Attorney General’s Office promptly.

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