Beware of warm-weather scammers

Beware of warm-weather scammers

Rural Electric Cooperative will not show up to your house asking if you need work done. When a Line Worker does come for a legitimate reason, they will be in logoed apparel with a truck where the Cooperative’s logo is visible and have valid identification.

Springtime is scam season. Do not be surprised if you get telephone calls, uninvited visitors looking for work and loads of door hangers offering landscaping, roofing, painting and home-repair services.

Your best bet: Say no to all of them. If you need work done around your house, visit the website of the state agency responsible for licensing contractors or join a contractor referral network who recommends only contractors who are licensed, insured, bonded and experienced.

A few other tips:
• Be wary of contractors with out-of-state license plates or detachable, magnetic company signs on their trucks. These could be “travelers,” who follow the warm weather from state to state and hire themselves out as home-improvement contractors. They are almost always unlicensed in your state, and if you discover a problem with their work later, they will be long gone.

• Do not pay in cash, and do not pay up front. Instead, work out a payment schedule allowing to pay in increments as the work is completed.

• Get bids from three reputable companies before starting. If one offer is way lower than the other two, something is probably amiss. 

• Do not fall for these two lines: “I just finished a job at your neighbor’s house and I will give you a good price if you hire me today because I am already in the neighborhood” or “I have leftover materials from a job I just did and I will sell/install them here for a deep discount because I do not need them.”

Hiring contractors can be expensive. But do not waste money on those who are not licensed and legitimate.

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