Have you been thinking about carpeting the living room or repaving the driveway? Making improvements to your home can increase its value and make your daily life more comfortable. But be wary of home improvement offers that seem “too good to be true.” Here are some tips for avoiding unethical or even illegal schemes.
1| Research the company
If you are approached with an offer of a great deal (such as by a door-to-door salesperson), take your time to research the firm.
- Contractors: In Minnesota, contractors must be licensed. Contact the Department of Labor and Industry for more information: http://www.doli.state.mn.us/
- Lenders: If you’ll be financing the improvement, HUD (Housing and Urban Development) has a list of approved lenders: https://www.hud.gov/ll/code/llslcrit.cfm
2| Don’t fall prey to high-pressure sales tactics
Door-to-door scammers can really paint a dire picture of your home’s needs or insist on deals that “expire.” Take the time to shop around, compare, and research your options.
3| Confirm the company’s legitimacy
Under state law, door-to-door salespeople must present identification. Watch out for scammers that arrive in unmarked trucks or do not provide a physical address for their company.
4| Read offers and estimates carefully
Once you’ve received an estimate for a job, read it over carefully. Get more than one estimate for a project so you can compare the costs.
Under Minnesota’s Right to Cancel law, consumers have three days to cancel a contract made by a door-to-door solicitation.
5| Put your own safety first
Don’t invite door-to-door salespeople into your home. Scammers can be very aggressive and may refuse to leave until you’ve signed a contract. If you feel unsafe, it is not rude to say “no” and close the door. Listen to your instincts.
Report any suspected neighborhood scams to law enforcement.
Information based on: Minnesota Attorney General | Door-to-door Home Improvement Scams
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