With all the damage from Hurricane Sandy, many homeowners are dealing with damage, and cleanup. And this is the perfect opportunity for contractors to take advantage of consumers with price gouging and unfair contracts.
In order to avoid being taken, don’t be rushed into making a decision. You could be over charged, or a contractor could do more damage than good. Ignore the door-to-door appeals. Instead, consider someone you know or someone recommended by a friend or neighbor. If you hire someone, make sure the firm is licensed, bonded and insured.
Then, make sure to get a written estimate with an invoice listing the parts needed to make the repair.
Also, whatever you do, never pay in cash -- even if the contractor insists on it. Pay by credit card so that if the service is done incorrectly, you can contest the charge. Following natural disasters, you often see fly-by-night contractors and outrageous prices for items in demand.
Here’s the breakdown of gouging laws by state:
To report a shady contractor, you have several options depending on where you live.