Home Repair Scams

Don't Become a Scam Victim

Making improvements to your home can be a stressful endeavor, but even more so with the threat of home-repair scams. How do you know if you can trust the contractor or repair service? Nobody wants to be the victim of a scam. Be informed about common home-repair scams and how to spot them. Here are some examples:

  • A contractor asks for a significant portion of money up front, and then disappears, never completing (or even starting) the project.

  • A contractor does a fast and faulty repair, like applying used motor oil to “repave” the driveway or painting shingles to make it look like the roof has been repaired.

  • A contractor who was “in the neighborhood” points out various items that need repair, often shaming the homeowner into paying for unnecessary or sub-par repairs. Or, he or she offers “free” inspections and then breaks something on purpose in order to get paid to “fix” the problem.

  • A pair of contractors knocks on a door and one distracts the homeowner (perhaps insisting that he or she look at “damage” outside) while the other sneaks inside and steals valuables.

Take Precautions Against Home-Repair Scams

  • Do not let an unsolicited contractor inside your home.home repairman handing homeowner business card

  • Ask for a written contract that itemizes the costs and includes a timeline and payment terms.

  • Before signing a contract, get multiple estimates to determine a fair price.

  • Never pay in full up front, especially if cash is the only payment accepted.

  • Don’t be pressured into an on-the-spot decision, even for a discounted price.

  • Verify the contractor’s references.

  • Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).

  • Check for reviews about the company online.

  • Find out if the company is registered with your state board of contractors and your local building inspection office.

  • Make sure the contractor is insured and bonded.

  • If a utility worker requests access to your home without prior notice, verify his or her identity with the utility company before letting the worker inside.


For more home repair scam resources...

Better Business Bureau
National Consumers League