Now another tragedy has barreled their way: home improvement scammers.
New York State Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. issued a warning recently to be wary of unsolicited contractors who are offering aid to help repair homes. He said his office has received several complaints.
This pattern is sad, but not new. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, thousands of contractors looking for work descended on the city of New Orleans. They offered good prices, quick turnaround times, and a good old fashioned handshake to seal the deal. Then, once they had a homeowner’s money, the skipped to a new place, looking for a new victim. The same thing is happening in New York.
There are numerous contractors who work hard, give fair prices, and deliver quality jobs. And in many instances, these people go where the work is, which is usually found after a natural disaster. These people can’t be blamed. They are simply looking for an honest day’s pay.
However, there are also the shady contractors who muck up the whole thing. They add a debilitating blow to somebody already on their knees. It’s a slap in the face to those who want to rebuild their homes and their lives. They should be punished criminally if caught.
For now, its best if homeowners follow tried and true rules for selecting honest and reliable home improvement contractors. The New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection says to avoid unlicensed contractors who are high-pressure salesmen. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. Also, homeowners should avoid contractors who say there is no need for a written contract.
These tips are good for any home improvement project, but are especially useful to anybody who goes through a natural disaster. Whether it’s Hurricane Sandy or Katrina, tornadoes in the Midwest, hail in the north, or any other crippling event, be certain to do your homework and avoid home improvement scammers.