Home Repair Cons
Information provided by:
Denver District Attorney Office
Fraud Hot Line 720-913-9179
Traveling scam artists arrive every spring and prey on victims, especially the elderly, with door-to-door home repair, roofing, paving and other scams, intimidating the consumers into paying thousands of dollars for poor quality and unnecessary home repairs. Finding a good contractor is important since a home improvement project gone wrong can cost you big time. But, choosing the wrong contractor can cost you more than money; it can lead to delays, subpar work, and even legal problems.
How to Recognize Door-to-Door Con Artists
- They peddle roofing, paving and other repair work door-to-door.
- They drive new pick-up trucks with typically out-of-state license plates.
- They prey on the elderly using friendly, but high-pressure tactics.
- They may say they have material left over from a previous job, or insist they did work for you or a neighbor before.
- They ask you to get the required building permits.
- They quote bargain prices, but demand much more after the job is complete.
To Protect Yourself from Door-to-Door Scams
- Don’t do business with door-to-door contractors – even if they promise to do the work for bargain prices.
- Get at least three bids on any work, and don’t always choose the lowest.
- Check all contractors with your building inspection department and the BBB.
- Don’t fall for a contractor saying they can get the job done without a permit. (The cost on the back-end will be far greater than the cost of a permit.)
- Insist on a written contract and don’t be pressured into additional projects, paying more or paying for unauthorized work.
- Do NOT give a contractor any money up front!
If You Suspect Door-To-Door Con Artists in your Neighborhood
- Don’t answer your door.
- Call your local police, sheriff, or district attorney’s office immediately.
How to Choose a Legitimate Contractor
- BEWARE door-to-door contractors who use high-pressure or scare tactics to get you to make an immediate decision. DON’T do business with someone who comes to your door offering a bargain because he says he has materials left over from another job
- Please Note: There is no statewide roofing license or registration requirement within the state of Colorado for roofing contractors. Rather, roofing contractors or other construction professionals installing or repairing a roof MUST be licensed and/or pull a roofing permit with each Colorado local city or county jurisdiction where the work is to be performed. If a contractor gives you a license number, you should confirm with your city or county’s building department where the home or building resides that the license number was issued by them and is current.
- Get at least 3 written bids. DON’T always choose the lowest bidder – almost all complaints to the DA’s office are contractors with very low bids. You get what you pay for.
- Require the contractor to use a written contract that lists materials to be used, as well as charges and costs, and the completion date.
- Pay little or nothing in advance. Pay only the cost of materials as outlined in the contract in advance, then pay the balance only when you are satisfied, and the job has been approved by a building inspector.
- Visit the Denver Building Inspection Service website or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-865-2982 (or your local office) to determine if the contractor is licensed. DON’T do business with an unlicensed contractor.
- Ask the Denver roofing contractor to show you proof that he is bonded, carries liability insurance, and covers his workers with workers compensation insurance.
- Does the contractor have a business card with a verifiable street address and office phone number? Be cautious of P.O. boxes and answering machines or pagers only.
- Contact your Better Business Bureau for a reliability report and a list of credible Denver roofing companies.
- DON’T make final payment until 1) you’re satisfied, 2) you’ve received a “lien waiver” that shows the contractor has paid his subcontractors and suppliers, and 3) the building inspector has signed off on the job.
“Take 5 Get Wise” Campaign
Colorado’s Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA)’s “Take 5 to Get Wise” campaign aims to remind you that, as a consumer, you are your own best advocate and provides you with some no-nonsense resources to help you become more informed.
Stop Fraud Colorado
The Colorado Attorney General’s campaign, Stop Fraud Colorado, was developed to fight fraud throughout Colorado. The AG’s office also offers a consumer web guide with contact information to local, state and national consumer protection agencies, organizations and resources.
The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA.ORG) offers advice on filing an insurance claim and reminds consumers that insurance coverage may be rendered void if intentional misrepresentation by a policyholder is discovered. Don’t be tempted to conspire in an insurance claim. Insurance fraud is a felony! Download RMIIA’s “Hail Damage Fraud” brochure.