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Contractor Scam Season is Here

Bandera Electric Coopertive will never send anyone to your house to ask you if you need work done. When someone does come for a legitimate reason, you’ll see a uniform, a truck with the cooperative’s logo on it and valid identification.

But there are lots of scammers out there who may knock on your door with ill intent. Don’t be surprised if you get phone calls, uninvited visitors looking for work and loads of door hangers offering landscaping, roofing, painting and solar power services.

Your best bet: Say no to all of them. When you contact a business, you know who’s on the other end of the line. But when someone contacts you first, you can’t be certain they’re telling the truth. You don’t know if they are who they say they are. And remember, email addresses and caller ID information can be faked.

If you need work done around your house, visit the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation’s website or join a contractor referral network that recommends only contractors who are licensed, insured, bonded and experienced.

A few other tips:

Be wary of contractors with out-of-state license plates or detachable, magnetic company signs on their trucks. These could be “travelers,” who follow the warm weather from state to state and hire themselves out as home improvement contractors. They’re almost always unlicensed in your state, and if you discover a problem with their work later, they’ll be long gone.

Do not pay in cash, and do not pay upfront. Instead, work out a payment schedule that allows you to pay in increments as the work is completed. A contractor who works on a cas monly basis is probably not paying taxes and almost certainly not paying for insurance. The same goes for a contractor who wants to get paid each day. Drop them like a hot potato.

Get bids from three reputable companies before you start. If you get one offer that’s way lower than the other two, something is probably amiss.

Don’t fall for these two lines: “I just finished a job at your neighbor’s house and I’ll give you a good price if you hire me today because I’m already in the neighborhood” or “I have leftover materials from a job I just did, and I’ll sell/install them here for a deep discount because I don’t need them.” If a contractor claims he’s already got materials he wants to pass along to you at a discount, watch out. Usually, these materials are seconds, ungraded or below-grade minimums for code, or they “fell off a truck.” Small contractors rarely buy in volumes that yield these big discounts. If they do, they severely misjudged quantities on a previous job, which doesn’t speak well of their ability to estimate and plan jobs.

Hiring contractors can be expensive. Don’t waste your money on one who’s not licensed and legitimate.

Posted: 5/12/2023 10:56:39 AM
Comments: 0