Consumer Beware: Red Flags For Fly-By-Night Contractors

Posted on Mar 11, 2014

red-flags-for-contractorsConnecticut residents have spoken and at the top of their list of consumer complaints, after fuel, are home improvement contractors and new home builders.

According to the Department of Consumer Protection, of the 6,008 written complaints they received in 2013, 14.5 percent had to do with issues like unfinished work, improper contracts, damaged homes, shoddy materials, or deposits that were never returned.

Unfortunately, too many homeowners have experienced the headaches of fly-by-night contractors — those who promise big projects at a minimal cost but don’t deliver. To prevent yourself from being another statistic, watch out for a contractor who:

  • Solicits door-to-door
  • Only accepts cash or asks you to pay for the entire job up-front
  • Offers you discounts for finding other customers
  • Pressures you to make an immediate decision
  • Asks you to obtain building permits for the job
  • Is not listed in a local directory or phone book

Be sure to check whether a contractor is properly licensed and registered by the state of Connecticut and that they’re also insured. And never allow a contractor to begin work without a signed contract. Know that by law, a contract should state that a homeowner has three business days to cancel it.

Lastly, while testimonials are always beneficial, take it one step further and ask for references. A well established, trustworthy contractor will never hesitate for you to speak with former customers. Also, do a little legwork and ask family and friends what they know about the contractor or company. Word of mouth speaks volumes.