AG office warns of home repair scammers

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT)  - Now that warm weather is here, the Attorney General’s office is warning Kentuckians that it also brings out seasonal home repair scammers who go door-to-door, offering to do work at prices that are too good to be true.


Over the past two years, the AG’s office has received nearly 400 home repair scam complaints from Kentuckians in 25 counties, including Boone, Caldwell, Fayette, Franklin, Grayson, Jefferson, McCracken, Shelby and Warren counties.


Fly-by-night businesses and door-to-door scam contractors take advantage of the home repair season by guaranteeing low prices and requesting upfront payment. But those contractors provide low-quality work or never complete the work, Beshear said, and sometimes demand thousands more than the agreed upon price.   


Last week, the Attorney General’s office recovered $7,000 for a Marshall County resident who was quoted a low price and then overcharged for gravel work once the job was completed.


“Often saying they are working in your neighborhood, scam contractors offer ‘special deals’ on home improvement services that usually end with Kentucky families losing their hard-earned money,” said Attorney General Andy Beshear.  “Kentuckians should never agree to a ‘today-only’ deal and should always check references and receive several estimates before signing a contract.”


Bruce Gadansky, chief operating officer for the Better Business Bureau in Louisville, echoes those sentiments.   


“They’ll tell you they just happen to be in the neighborhood sealing driveways, or repairing roofs and they’ll give you a too-good-to-be-true price to do shoddy work and then attempt to charge you three times as much as they quoted,” Gadansky said.  “If they come knocking on your door, no matter how much they want in, do not let them into your home.”


He suggests using local contractors established in your community, adding, “Check out your prospective contractor at bbb.org or call your local BBB.”


Beshear said not all door-to-door salespersons are scammers, but offers these tips:


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If you receive an unusually low-price quote, be suspicious. Before you complete any large home improvement project, consider getting multiple quotes from different contractors.


--Verify that the contractor or business is registered to do business in Kentucky, also check business licensing requirements with your city or county government. Verify online reviews through the BBB, ask for ID and contact previous customer references. 


--If a contractor asks for upfront payment for a small home improvement job, this should
trigger a red flag. Often times, very large projects require some type of upfront payment, but only after the contractor is properly screened and a guarantee contract is signed.


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Do not rush into making a decision. Tell the salesperson you need to discuss with your family, or you are not interested. Ensure any agreement is in writing and tell the salesperson you will review the agreement and get back in contact with them.


To report a scam, contact the Attorney General’s Office at 888-432-9257.  Complaints can be filed online at  https://secure.kentucky.gov/formservices/AttorneyGeneral/ConsumerComplaintForm.

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