This is a consumer advice column written by the Better Business Bureau of Northern Indiana. It appears Thursdays in Business.
Need some work done on your home? Perhaps your tree needs trimmed, your driveway needs repaved or your roof could use some TLC? You’re in luck!
A truck pulls up to your home, a friendly gentleman hops out and offers to do the work for you at a low cost.
The offer is so good that you can’t pass it up. You give the man $500 down. He gives you his business card, begins work on your drive, and is gone for the day.
A few days later, he doesn’t come back and you begin to worry. You call the number on the card, but it goes to voice mail. He doesn’t return your call. What do you do?
You have no address and check the phone book, the Internet, the Better Business Bureau, the county building department, and other places but you’ve run out of options. No one’s ever heard of this business, and your driveway looks awful.
Plus, you’re out $500.
Unfortunately, this time of year, fly-by-night companies are on the prowl. Many of them come from out of state and don’t provide their address on purpose and don’t answer their phone on purpose. Their goal is to make money from trusting people looking for a bargain.
Fast-talking sales persons are good at closing deals and convincing clients that work is needed and that it’s better to have service done now than later. And, what a deal you’ve got,
If you feel pressured into making a purchase, buy yourself some time, even if it is a deal that will save you hundreds, thousands of dollars. Chances are, this deal could be a scam, and if it is the real deal, a reliable business can wait a couple of minutes for you to make a quick call to the Better Business Bureau to check them out (don’t forget to close the door and make them wait outside your home).
Always make certain that you have the business’s name, address, phone number, and website, if available.
Be sure that the company is licensed, bonded, and insured before you agree to the work. If they are not, you could be liable for any injuries that take place on your property, at the time of the repair.
Take time to check this information and get more than one quote on all work to be done. Ask for references then give their reference a call.
Get everything in writing should you need to dispute services.