Home repair and improvement scams are among
the most common consumer complaints.
Consumers complain about shoddy workmanship,
“fly-by-night” contractors who take payments and
don’t show up to do the work, and companies that
pressure homeowners into expensive, unneeded
repairs. You can avoid becoming a victim by taking
important precautions before having home repairs
Beware of roving con artists. These scam artists
knock on people’s doors and offer to do work
such as roofing, gutter cleaning, driveway
paving or tree pruning. They sometimes
appear in the aftermath of hail-
storms or tornados, offering to
repair storm damage.
Warning signs of a scam:
An offer of a reduced price
because they’ve “just done a job
nearby and have materials left
An offer of a “special” percentage
off the repair without being clear
about what the bottom-line price
No street address or telephone number, just
a post office box or an answering service
A refusal to give a written estimate or con-
Accepts only cash payments and asks you to
pay entire job up front.
Don’t hire contractors who come to your door
unsolicited, even if they seem honest and helpful.
These con artists may take your money and disap-
pear before finishing the job, or sometimes before
even starting the work, and are probably not licensed. If
something goes wrong, you would have no way to track
them down. Also, admitting strangers to your home
puts you at risk of being robbed.
Deal only with licensed contractors. When you need
work done to your home, choose a contractor carefully.
Get recommendations for licensed contractors
from satisfied friends and neighbors.
Ask to see the worker’s Home Improvement
Commission license, and check the license
number and expiration date. Contractors must
display their home improvement license num-
ber on all of their home improvement contracts,
trucks and advertisements.
Go to the Home Improvement
Commission’s web site (www.
dllr.state.md.us/pq) to verify a