Attorney General Warns of Home Repair Scams
(Pierre) –Attorney General Mark Barnett is warning South Dakotans about home improvement scams that pop up every spring.
“Every year my office receives complaints from consumers who were swindled out of their money by home improvement scam artists,” commented Barnett. “Following a few basic tips can ensure the job gets done right and on time.”
Barnett is encouraging consumers to be especially skeptical of contractors who solicit door-to- door, use hard-sell sales tactics, will only work for cash in advance, or claim to have materials left over from a previous job.
“These kinds of sales tactics should all send up red flags. I encourage consumers to get local references on a contractor before putting up any money. And consumers should also limit their down payment for the project,” Barnett said.
Other steps consumers can take to avoid being scammed include:
- Hiring local contractors
- Asking to see the contractor’s license and bond
- Obtaining a local bid before having work done
- Indicating, in writing, a definite start and completion date for project
- Preparing a contract describing all work to be completed
- Incorporating a lien waiver into the contract to prevent paying both the contractor, sub- contractor, and the business supplying the merchandise.
Consumers with questions or complaints regarding home improvement scams should contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-300-1986, firstname.lastname@example.org, or http://atg.sd.gov/Consumers.aspx.