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Home Repair Scams

Mon, Jan 23, 2012 at 4:30PM

     One of the biggest scams perpetrated on elderly homeowners in Florida is by unlicensed contractors who, Daytona Beach lawyers note, either take the money and run, or perform shoddy work that has to be repaired by a legitimate contractor later.

     A nomadic band was recently busted in Polk County for trying to talk elderly homeowners into getting unnecessary work done on their residence. In this case a sting operation by law enforcement investigators caught the perpetrators. Sometimes they aren’t caught.

     Unlicensed contractors are adding to their repertoire of tricks. They now show insurance documentation and claim they can file a claim for the homeowner after they make a down payment.

      In the Polk County case, with the assistance of some alert senior citizens, investigators  charged five men with exploitation of the elderly, burglary, grand theft and workers’ compensation fraud.

     Daytona Beach lawyers know that staying vigilant is a key to avoiding home repair scammers. Here are tips from seniorscamscreen.org that can help with your vigilance.

  • Don’t hire a contractor who comes to your door unless he has references and a license. You can double check the license at MyFloridaLicense.com or call 800-321-2752.
  • Ask for the contractor’s “pocket license” or license number. Also ask for an additional form of identification, such as a driver’s license.
  • A contractor cannot demand more than 10 percent of the total cost of the job, or $1,000, upfront. The exception is when the contractor provides a bond.
  • Don’t pay cash up front. Always use a check or credit card, so you can cancel it if the contractor takes off without doing the work.
  • Get an estimate in writing. A contractor who won’t provide you with an estimate or written contract probably isn’t a contractor.

 

     For any abuse of the elderly, the Daytona Beach lawyers of Seitz & Tresher are available for a consultation to help you or someone you know who needs help.


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