The Wilmington Police Department wants to remind residents to use caution when hiring home improvement contractors. Unfortunately there are individuals out there who use high-pressure sales tactics to deliver substandard work or no work at all. Most commonly, these contractors will go door to door. Some will claim that they are already working on another home in the area and have leftover supplies.
These contractors will often request high up front deposits for the work. Once they start, they will “find” issues that they claim need to be addressed raising the price significantly. If you object, they will threaten to walk away without finishing the job. Some may never return after receiving the deposit.
Here are some tips from the Better Business Bureau to spot scams:
- Watch out for “red flags.” Say no to cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, high upfront payments, handshake deals without a contract, and on-site inspections.
- Ask for references and check them out. Bad contractors will be reluctant to share this information and scammers won’t wait for you to do your homework. If you can, get references from past customers, both older references to check on the quality of the work and newer references to make sure current employees are up to the task. Check them out at bbb.org to see what other customers have experienced. And always be sure to get a written contract with the price, materials and timeline. The more detail, the better.
- Know the law. Work with local businesses that have proper identification, licensing and insurance. Confirm that your vendor will get related permits and make sure you know who is responsible for what according to your local laws and that your vendor is ready to comply.
Residents should keep an eye out for their elderly neighbors. Senior citizens are commonly the victims of these scams and can lose of thousands of dollars on poor work that may not have even needed to be done.
The Town of Wilmington requires that all solicitors obtain a permit from the Wilmington Police Department. If a solicitor comes to your door, you can ask to see the permit.
If you are unsure about a solicitor that comes to your door or you see suspicious activity, you can contact the WPD at (978) 658-5071.
For more info visit:
Boston Better Business Bureau: https://www.bbb.org/us/ma/boston
Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Consumer Advocacy & Response Division (CARD): https://www.mass.gov/get-consumer-support