With extreme storms such as Hurricane Sandy and the Nemo snowstorm becoming the “new normal” in the U.S., homeowners are increasingly vulnerable to bogus repair work by shady contractors.
A report by Environment America finds that extreme rainstorms and snowstorms have become 30% more frequent on average since 1948. Moreover, the biggest storms are producing an average of 10% more precipitation during the past 65 years. Higher damages from this extreme weather make the pickings ripe for home repair and rebuilding scams, often by dishonest drifters who go from door to door.
Insurance fraud experts warn against these seven common rip-offs:
- Disappearing down payments A contractor demands a large down payment (often to “buy materials”), and then disappears after doing little or no work.
- Doing shoddy work A contractor uses cheap materials to provide low-quality repairs, leaving the job to be redone, often at your own expense.
- Creating “phantom damage, – For example, by nicking sidewall or roof shingles with a screwdriver to mimic destruction from hail).
- Worsening damage Such as a contractor enlarging holes in a roof to increase his billings.
- Billing for phantom work This one is self-explanatory.
- Offering to pay your Homeowners deductible This is a con to lure your business.
- Acting as a go-between with your insurance company Taking control of your claim.
Fixing bad repair work can mean months of headaches – and your Homeowner’s policy might not cover fraudulent repairs! Also, bear in mind that even routine home fix-ups and remodeling can be an invitation for contract scammers.
If you have any questions or would like professional advice about dealing with a home repair contractor, just get in touch with us.