Home Improvement Fraud

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Beware of "Travelers"

Travelers are an organized crime group. They generally begin their activities in the spring when home repairs/improvements are being considered. They solicit door to door and make offers for various services at very low rates. Their goal is to profit by means of using inferior materials or misquoting the actual cost. Some examples are:

 Driveway Paving
The pitch typically is to pave a driveway with surplus material from nearby job. The price quoted is very cheap. The catch is either the material is inferior, too thinly laid to be structurally sound, or the price quoted did not include labor.

 Asphalt Driveway Sealing
The pitch is to inexpensively fill any cracks and seal the surface of a driveway. The catch is the sealer is strongly diluted usually with diesel fuel or some other petroleum product. Often it does nothing to seal the surface and can damage the driveway further. There usually is a glossy appearance if the sealer was diluted.

 Roof Coating
The pitch is to spray the roof with a sealer to make it more efficient and to stop all leaks. The catch is the sealer used is a mixture of diesel fuel and paint or just soapy water not what they purport it to be.

 Other Traveler’s Cons: 
Tree Trimming and Landscaping.
Lightning Rod Repair and Installation.
House and Barn Painting.
Pressure Washing.
Termite and Pest Control.

Here are some tips to protect yourself:
Beware of door to door offers no matter how good they sounds.
Be leery of offers “ Good for today only”
Beware if the pitch includes a “sob story”
Insist using a written contract that lists materials to be used, work to be completed, as well as charges and costs.
Obtain at least two to three written bids for work you want done.
Ask for and thoroughly check references. 

 Other Links:

National Association of Bunco Investigators 

AARP Elder Watch 

Better Business Bureau (BBB)