Home Repair Fraud
Learn how to avoid problems when you hire someone to make repairs to your house.
Get written estimates and check out the company.
1. Get several written estimates for the work you want done. Get estimates from companies that have been in business for a long time or from companies that your friends recommend.
2. Ask the company for the names and numbers of five former customers who are not family members, and call each of them.
3. Ask the company how long it has been in business and if it ever used a different name.
4. Call the Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau and ask if there have been any complaints filed against the company. The number is 1-888-468-4454 or (603) 271-3641. Weekdays 9am to 3pm.
5. Call the Better Business Bureau and ask if there have been any complaints filed against the company. The number is (603) 224-1991.
6. Anyone doing business in the State of New Hampshire must register with the Secretary of State’s office. Check the company’s name at the Secretary of State's website or call 1-603-271-3242.
Sign a written contract.
When you hire a company, you should read and sign a written contract. The contract should:
1. describe the work the company will do,
2. state the quality of materials the company will use,
3. give a start date and a finish date of the work, and
4. show the total cost and terms of payment written clearly. Be sure you understand what the terms are.
Financing and Security Interest
Read the contract carefully to see if you are signing up for any kind of financing. Instead of borrowing from the contractor, it is usually better to borrow from a bank or a lender with a good reputation.
If you do sign up for financing, you may be asked to give a security interest in your home.
If you give a security interest, it means the lender can take your house --foreclose -- if you do not make your payments according to the contract.
If you give a security interest, you have 3 days after signing the papers to cancel the contract.
Cancelling the Contract
Again, if you give a security interest, you have 3 days after signing the papers to cancel the contract.
If you buy home-repair services someplace that is not the salesperson's regular place of business, like at your house, or at a temporary location at a shopping mall or hotel, you can cancel the contract within 3 days by letting the seller know in writing that you are cancelling the contract.