After a Storm, Remain Cautious of Home Repair Companies Soliciting Work at Your Front Door
With the recent torrential downpours causing flash flooding through out the Chicago-land area, residents need to stay alert and be cautious of so-called home repair companies soliciting work at your front door, uninvited. With another round of showers and storms due this week, and even if those storms do not materialize, collected floodwaters will continue to surge downstream in area creeks and rivers which may cause further flooding. With many resident affected by these severe storms and floods, everyone needs to protect themselves from the home repair con artists who exploit natural disaster for personal profit.
The Illinois Attorney General has emphasized these types of warnings, “as they begin to repair and rebuild their homes and businesses, it is important that storm victims are alert to scam artists who follow storms and natural disasters in an attempt to defraud consumers,” Lisa Madigan said.
The so called home repair contractors are professionals at persuading homeowners to make snap decisions in the emotional aftermath of a disaster. They use high-pressure techniques to persuade residents into allowing unscrupulous contractors to perform the home repair work that could end up costing you big time if you rush into hiring a contractor. If you find yourself, or your neighbor or friend as one of the many residents who will unfortunately fall victim to their scam, please contact Ball & McCann, P.C. for assistance.
Review the following tips to help yourself, your family, your friends and neighbors avoid the many tactics of these dishonest home repair contractors:
Never settle for the first contractor you speak to, shop around for the best deal. You should always get written estimates from several contractors before making a decision.
Always ask to see the home repair contractor’s state and local permits and licenses. If they represent to you that they are not required to be licensed or that they do not have their permits/licenses, tell them to contact you once they do.
Always be cautious of any door-to-door solicitations from home-repair contractors, this is where our firm has seen the most frequent instances of fraud occur.
Once you have received written estimates from a few different home-repair contractors, you should then narrow the list down to just a few and start looking for reviews of their work online. Ask your friends and neighbors if they have heard of them, or know anyone who has. You can also contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Fraud Hotline to check out a business and find out how many consumer complaints, if any, have been filed against that particular business.
Lastly, but certainly not least important, once you make your choice, we can not stress enough how important it is to make sure everything you discuss, everything that is or was promised to you, is put in writing. You also need to make sure you immediately obtain a signed copy of the identical contract. Never pay in cash, and never make full payment until all home-repair work has been performed to your satisfaction in accord with the agreed upon terms of the signed contract.
In Illinois, if you sign the home-repair contract in your home because the contractor came to your home, then you have the right to cancel the contract within three (3) business days from signing that contract.
The Illinois Home Repair and Remodeling Act requires contractors to furnish customers with:
1. Written contracts for any repair or remodeling work costing more than $1,000.
The contract must be signed by both the customer and the contractor; and
Contractors must maintain at least minimum amounts of insurance for property damage, bodily injury and improper home repair.
2. An Informational Pamphlet entitled "Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights."
If you are inside the City of Chicago, the home-repair contractor has further requirements that must be adhered to. If you are having problems with your home-repair contractor, or know someone who is, do not hesitate to contact the law firm of Ball & McCann, P.C. at (872) 205-6556 or visit www.BallMcCannLaw.com for guidance from experienced professionals who care.
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