How to spot a fraudulent home repair company

During hurricane season, your risk of suffering storm damage to your home can greatly increase. As you stand among the damage caused by flooding and high winds, beware of the next threat that lurks just around the corner – an entity masquerading as a home repair company.

If you have suffered property damage and your insurer is proving to be difficult when it comes to filing the claim, you may be tempted to hire the contractor that stops by offering a low price to repair your home. In order to avoid becoming the victim of a scam, there are some red flags to watch for when choosing a company to do the repairs.

The uninvited contractor

A contractor that shows up or emails you in a seemingly random manner may be trying to scam you. Instead, contact your insurance company for a recommendation or get a referral from a trusted source.

The “extra material” line

If a contractor approaches you at your home, alleging to have been doing repair work for one of your neighbors and claiming to have extra materials that can be used on your house for a fraction of the costs, beware. This is most likely a scam.

High pressure

When a contractor is pressuring you to immediately sign a contract for the company to get to work, take a moment and step back. Remember that you have options and if you do not feel comfortable, contact another outfit.

The special deal

If a contractor comes to your property and offers a special deal, only good if you agree to the work that day, keep your guard up because this is probably a scam.

Up Front payment

You have probably heard several stories from friends and relatives about the time they hired a contractor to repair the fence and payment was made up front. The fence was never repaired and the contractor’s number was no longer in service.

Never pay a contractor the full amount in advance for work on your property, especially if the payment was demanded in cash.

No identification

A home repair company that lacks the proper identification, certifications, and permits from the city or county is probably operating illegally.

Financing

Beware of the contractor that offers to finance the repairs to your home, especially if your home equity of the deed is part of the collateral. This can potentially end with the contractor putting a lien on your home and foreclosing.

If your home has suffered storm damage and your insurance company is denying your claim, it is important that you understand your options. For advice on handling a claim your insurance is refusing to cover, contact an attorney experienced with insurance claims.