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“Anybody can be a victim.”
“I think he’s trying to scam you.”
“The biggest thing in finding a new contractor is brutal honesty.”
James Van Gorder, Homeowner: “They put a ladder up there and went up on my roof to inspect my roofing.”
James Van Gorder, of Indianapolis, filed a complaint with Angie’s list when he says a company took his money upfront to do roof repairs but didn’t come back.
Van Gorder: “Well, that was 5000 that they got from me, but they didn’t get that second check, thank God.”
Rick Lopes, Contractors State License Board: “Fraudulent contractors are extremely talented con artists.”
Van Gorder: “Even my own sister said, well, you better call a lawyer….. this guy, I think he’s trying to scam you.”
Lopes: Pretty much anybody can become a victim.
Rick Lopes, spokesperson for the Contractors State License Board out of California says you can take action against a shady contractor.
Lopes: “If you’re in a state where a license is required and they are a licensed contractor, you should definitely file a complaint with that contracting board. You can also talk to your local police department or your county’s district attorney. In many states there’s actually criminal laws.”
Always file complaints with license board
File criminal complaint
Have a paper trail
Lopes: It’s never too late to begin to build that paper trail. Send a letter and explain in writing what the issue is and give them a certain amount of time to correct this issue
If you’re considering firing your contractor, proceed with caution.
Doug Lynch, Owner, Exterior Additons: “In many cases when you fire the contractor, YOU can be at default with the contract, so that can be a legal ramification out of the gate.”
Know the details of your contract
Doug Lynch is the owner of Exterior Additions, in Charlotte, North Carolina. As a highly-rated Super Service Award contractor on Angie’s List, Lynch has finished many projects for homeowners who were left in the lurch.
Lynch: “You can see if your local state has a recovery fund. Next is certainly going to your consumer advocates – Angie’s List, the BBB. Contact your local municipality, wherever the permit was issued, to see what inspections have taken place and also see if you can get any information on the subcontractors used. Because that info can be very valuable to determine if there’s going to be any outstanding liens or claims against the properties. “
Check for state recovery fund
Consumer advocates – Angie’s List, BBB
Check for permits/inspections/subcontractors
Homeowners who’ve already run into problems can be apprehensive. Lynch advises brutal honesty helps in the search for a new contractor.
Lynch: “Be transparent with that person that’s coming to look at it with exactly where you stand financially; where exactly you stand from a time constraint; what your desires and needs are for the completion of the project. This way, someone else isn’t inheriting, for lack of a better word, your luggage from your previous bad experience.”
Be honest about:
Lynch: “You have to understand that, when you’re hiring that new contractor, that he can’t be penalized for that poor experience you had before.”
James Van Gorder says he has yet to hear from the company he hired and hasn’t seen a penny from the $500, 000 judgment recently secured from the Indiana Attorney General’s office.