Thousands of Americans get scammed each year, with high monetary losses reported. While, it is impossible to spot a contractor scam artist at first glance, you can learn how to protect yourself from such deviant activities. If you learn the warning signs ahead of time, you will know exactly what to look for, so you do not fall prey for these scams.
Throughout your lifetime, you will meet salesmen that operate in many different fashions. Of course, these professionals are eager to make a profit on your sale, meaning that they will do whatever is necessary to entice you into a binding contract. When does it get to the point, where the salesman has crossed the line? A pushy salesman is a sure sign of a scam, so you need to do whatever is necessary to stay clear of them. The situation can be distorted drastically, if this experience involves a door-to-door sales pitch, making the homeowner even more uncomfortable.
When you find yourself in need of hiring a contractor, you should avoid making a rash decision. First and foremost, you should do a brief search for contractors in Prince George’s County, Maryland and then omit the unlicensed entries. An unlicensed contractor will ignore the laws and do whatever is necessary to take advantage of the consumer. Contractors are required to obtain a “contractor’s license”, if they plan to bid on a project that is $25,000 or more.
If you want to find licensed contractors in your area, please use the following website, “business license verification.” If you do not have access to the Internet, you can contact the Department of Commerce & Insurance at 1-800-544-7693.
Never take the contractor’s word for it, because they will tell you whatever you want to hear, just to draw you into a binding contract.
Requests Down Payment
Another warning sign that points to a contractor scam is a down payment request. The Home Improvement Law was created, in an attempt to protect consumers from this fraudulent activity. This law prohibits all contractors from requesting more than one third of the full amount, as a down payment. While, this protection seems to be working, it will be the individual’s sole responsibility to get educated on this very important topic.
Filing A Complaint
If you happen to become an unlucky participant of a contractor scam, you should file a complaint with the Home Improvement Commission, at the following website: http://www.dllr.state.md.us/license/mhic/mhiccomp.shtml. You can also contact the Commission by sending them an email to DLOPLMHIC-DLLR@maryland.gov. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can contact the Commission at the toll free number 1-888-218-5925 or 410-230-6309 or mail the complaint to the physical address listed below.
Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC)
500 North Calvert Street, Room 306
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
Do not sit idle and allow this contractor to continue this fraudulent behavior, because he/she is probably out there right now, looking for another victim.