on May 8, 2007 by Staff in Latest, Comments Off on The Travelers- Home Improvement scams on the hoof

The Travelers- Home Improvement scams on the hoof

District Attorney Scott Storey warns homeowners of the return of the Travelers. Storey says, “Every year around this time these professional thieves show up offering home repair bargains to unsuspecting consumers. They travel state to state and city to city representing themselves as experienced home repair contractors, but actually are often trained by their fathers and grandfathers in swindling techniques.”

Travelers follow hail storms, flooding, fires, etc., targeting residential neighborhoods and elderly residents. The preferred victim is a middle-class homeowner, over 60-years-old, who is unable to see or hear well. Place-blogger

But, anyone can be targeted.

Travelers are generally polite, persuasive, and will offer any type of guarantee to the homeowner in order to make a sale. Their vehicles are normally new, clean, and contain well-maintained equipment. They are highly active between the months of April – October. Some of the jobs they perform include but are not limited to roof/coating repair, asphalt paving, driveway sealing, house and barn painting, tree pruning, landscaping, utilities repair and auto body scams.

Storey warns, “If you need to have home repair work done, do not enter into a contract lightly. Once these contractors have your money, if they don’t do the job properly, or at all, you may have little legal recourse. They leave town as quickly as they came, and often there is nothing we can do to help you recoup your losses.”

The District Attorney’s Office offers the following tips when entering into a contract for home repair:

Beware of door-to-door contractors. Don’t do business with someone who comes to your door offering you a “bargain”, saying he has material left over from another job.

In Colorado, anyone can be a licensed contractor. Ask for references from your friends or neighbors.

Ask for proof that the contractor is bonded, carries liability insurance and covers his workers with workers’ compensation insurance.

The contractor’s business card should have a verifiable street address and office phone number. Be cautious of those with only PO Boxes and answering machines.

Obtain at least three written bids for work you want done. Don’t automatically choose the lowest bidder.

Require that the contractor use a written contract that lists materials to be used, charges, costs and the start and completion dates.

Beware of contractors who want 50% down to “purchase materials”. Find out who the supplier is and write the check directly to them. It is never required by law that money for be materials be paid up front.

Don’t make final payment until you receive a lien wavier. The lien waiver should indicate that the contractor has paid his subcontractors and suppliers, and that you are satisfied with the contractor’s work

Please contact your local law enforcement agency if you suspect there may be a Traveler-type scam in your neighborhood.

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