Every year, home improvement scams are among the top 10 consumer issues in Arkansas. When contemplating improvements to your home, here are some things to consider:
Select a contractor
Any contractor building, repairing or doing improvements to a home costing more than $2,000 is required to be bonded and licensed by the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board. Contact the board at (501) 372-4661 to verify a contractor’s license, the date it was issued and whether any complaints have been filed against that contractor. Ask for recommendations from people you trust.
Insist on written contract
Have a written and signed contract before any work begins on your home or property. Specifically, make sure the following information is contained in the contract:
- Your name. The name, address and telephone number of the builder or contractor.
- A complete and detailed description of the work to be done and the materials to be used, including the grade, quality and quantity.
- A provision requiring your written approval before any price increases are implemented or before the scope of work is expanded.
- A statement that explains the builder’s or contractor’s guarantee on the work to be performed.
- A starting date and, more importantly, a completion date.
- A complete description of the cost of the job, full disclosure of the payment terms and the financing costs, if any.
- Your signature and the contractor’s signature.
Use caution in hiring:
- Think twice before hiring out-of-town or unknown contractors, especially those soliciting door-to-door.
- Question contractors who use terms like “special introductory offer,” “limited-time offer” or those who offer discounts to use your house as a “model home.”
- Do not fall for high-pressure tactics from contractors who want to discuss the price of the job later.
- Beware of those demanding a full payment before work is finished.
Scammers frequently target distressed homeowners and charge fees. Read more on foreclosure rescue and loan modification scams.