With the warm weather approaching, numerous homeowners begin to think about and plan for home renovations. The Grenville County Ontario Provincial Police would like to remind the public to takes steps to protect themselves against home renovation frauds and scams.
Often a scammer, will contact you before you contact them. They may claim to be from a renovation or contracting firm will appear at the victim’s door. The person will advise that they are working in the area and noticed that certain aspects of the property require repair or renovation. A special discount price is offered, which may be good only for that day.
The discount may be a special “seniors discount” or a discount offered only because the renovator happens to have “extra material” on hand. The person is overly friendly and appears knowledgeable. The “special discount price” usually turns out to be a price that is much higher than the normal market price. Never go for the deal that sounds too good to be true.
Home renovations can cost thousands of dollars and homeowners can follow some of these suggestions to prevent victimization:
Never rush into making a deal or signing a contract. Take a few days to think about it.
Ask for, and check references. The company can also be checked out with the Better Business Bureau and Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services.
Ask for a written estimate. Then get at least two more estimates from reputable businesses in your area.
Have any proposed contract checked over by someone trustworthy before signing it.
Do not provide any personal or banking information.
Keep down-payments to a minimum ( 10 percent is recommended by Consumer Protection Ontario).
Never pay the full amount of the contract until the work is done.
Avoid cash deals and if you do pay cash, make sure you get a detailed and signed receipt.
Get the right paperwork – written estimates, professional licenses, building permits.
A written contract is your best protection as a consumer
Apply the same rules to members of your family or close friends who offer to do your renovations.