Even with a snowstorm this week, spring is making its appearance, and so is a fresh crop of home-repair scams. Poweshiek County Sheriff Tom Sheets has a warning for homeowners. With spring just around the corner he says it’s the time when every year scam artists show up in the area and they always get a few calls from homeowners who’ve been “taken” by their promises. He says they may offer faster work or lower prices than you’d expect for a project.
A lot of times if it’s too good to be true — it probably isn’t true, the sheriff says. “These people try to put high-pressure sales tactics on you.” He has advice for anyone considering hiring people to do work on your home or property. Check out the contractor — look for references. A good contractor will have satisfied customers to refer you to. He adds there are plenty of local contractors available to do the work.
If you find you’re dealing with someone you don’t already know, take some precautions to protect yourself. Try to get your agreement in writing. Ask them for a contract and whatever their estimate for the cost of the job, get that written down. Sheriff Sheets says the biggest tip is not to pay in advance. His department sees people ripped off by strangers who ask for payment in advance and then never see them again. “Never ever give money in advance for any work being done,” he says, until it’s completed.