Better Business Bureau alerts consumers to use caution with regard to itinerant workers who may be in the area offering to repair roof damage, clean gutters, pave driveways, repair fences trim trees or perform other basic home repairs.
Itinerant workers, also known as “gypsy pavers” travel across the country. These are typically fly by night companies which offer to perform the work, often with leftover materials from a previous job. Their method of operation is to use bogus company names with a phone number which could also be phony. Other indicators are that they use high pressure tactics, have no physical location in the area, and therefore do not have business cards.
“Many people who do business with itinerant workers do so because they consider it a fast, convenient way to have some work done at what they think is a much cheaper price, but a low quote does not necessarily mean you’re getting a good deal”, said Mechele Agbayani, President & CEO of BBB Central East Texas. “No matter how good the price seems, you should think twice about doing business with a company that may not be here tomorrow to honor a warranty”.
BBB offers these 10 tips to consider before having repair work performed on your home or property:
* Use extreme caution when workers come to your door without an invitation.
Verify that any contractor you are considering doing business with is properly licensed, bonded and insured.
* Insist that contractors provide written estimates on company letterhead.
* Obtain bids from several companies. Review the bids carefully, and compare apples to apples. Remember the lowest bid is not always the best price.
* Don’t fall prey to high pressure tactics such as "this is the only chance you’ll have" or "by tomorrow the extra materials will be gone," or "I’m only in this area today." A legitimate company will be here when you are ready to have the work performed.
* Ask for local references…and call them.
* Never pay the full amount upfront and never sign a contract without first reading and understanding it.
* Never fall for high-pressure sales tactics.
* Make sure the business has a physical location in the area.
* Check out the company’s BBB Reliability Report and complaint history.
* REMEMBER, if you feel intimidated or frightened by the presence of any salesperson or contractor who comes to your home, call the police at 911.
For more tips on choosing companies for home repair, go to www.bbb.org.