Photo Video

How to avoid getting ripped off by home contractors

Don't Waste Your Money

a a a a
Share this story

No one plans to hire a bad home improvement company.

But if you want to avoid getting ripped off, there are some important steps you need to take.

It happens all the time: a well-meaning contractor walks off the job, never gets started or takes your money and never shows up.

Tri-State homeowner James Van Gorder said a contractor took his money upfront to do roof repairs, but never came back.

"My own sister said, ‘You should call a lawyer. I think this guy is trying to scam you,’" Gorder said.

To avoid a home improvement nightmare, first check the Better Business Bureau or our partners at Angie’s List who say you should try to speak with two or three recent customers before committing to a contractor.

Angie’s List says you should be sure to ask open-ended questions. Don't ask just “yes” and “no” questions.

You want to get the contractor talking so you can pick up tidbits about their experience. It’s also important to keep in mind that a contractor is probably going to give you references that had a good experience – not the negative ones.

Angie’s List recommends you ask a contractor exactly what kind of work they have done.

And ask the contractor’s references if he or she showed up on time and what kind of problems they encountered – if any. Also make sure to ask if the job came in according to budget.

And don’t forget the most important question: Would you hire them again?

The most important thing you can do when hiring a contractor is to do your homework before you sign anything or give a down payment.

Research, use Google and talk to people who have used that contractor so you don't waste your money.

______________________________

Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

"Like" John Matarese on Facebook

Follow John on Twitter (@DWYM)

Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More DWYM
Cobalt, Saturn owners anxious for repair
Cobalt, Saturn owners anxious for repair

John Matarese reports on the wait for ignition switch repairs

Scammers using Netflix to steal from millions
Scammers using Netflix to steal from millions

A dangerous new phishing scam is targeting the sensitive information of millions of Netflix users.

Prom or bridal dress shopping online? Beware
Prom or bridal dress shopping online? Beware

John Matarese has a caution for anyone trying to save money by dress shopping onlin.e

App of the Week
App of the Week

Check out John Matarese's latest money saving smartphone apps.

IRS phone scam targeting thousands
IRS phone scam targeting thousands

John Matarese has a warning about a major tax scam this spring.

How much water is in the chicken you buy?
How much water is in the chicken you buy?

When it comes to chicken, big packs of boneless breasts look like a good deal. But look closer.

Gasoline, beef prices soaring
Gasoline, beef prices soaring

John Matarese looks into higher prices hitting just as spring arrives

"One Ring" phone scam getting worse

John Matarese warns about the "One-Ring" scam

Easy tax mistakes that could get you audited
Easy tax mistakes that could get you audited

As millions of Americans race to meet Tuesday's tax deadline, they will make mistakes that could increase their chances of being put…

How to avoid worthless home warranties
How to avoid worthless home warranties

Every spring, thousands of Tri-State homeowners buy or renew home warranties to protect themselves against costly repairs. But are all…