Recently, across the Islands, senior citizens have become the target of “contractor” scams, where scammers perform home improvement and repairs that ultimately cheat or rip off consumers. Senior citizens are often the target of these scams primarily because they are more likely to be home during the day, have some form of steady income or a savings in place. And, many seniors tend to have a trusting nature and find it difficult to tell door-to-door solicitors ‘no.’
The most common type of contracting scam is the pavement scam, where scammers go door-to-door offering to pave driveways for homeowners. Other types of contracting scams include plumbing, roofing, remodeling and yard service projects. Usually these scammers will find something “wrong” with your house and will “repair” it with inferior quality and materials.
Warning signs that generally indicate a scam:
Selling door-to-door: True contractors will rarely sell their services door-to-door.
Left over from another job: Contractors know their material and most of the time there is no left over.
The quick decision: Take the time to think about it, never hire someone on the spot, and always get at least two estimates from different contractors.
No Contract: Get it all in writing. Write up a contract specifying the amount of work to be done and the total price.
Cash Only and Upfront Fees: The majority of contractors will accept forms of payment other than cash. Beware of those who demand full payment before the job is even started.
For any job, get a written estimate, compare prices and check references, licensing and insurance.
If you’re having problems with a contractor or if you feel that you have been scammed, please call the BBB. The BBB can offer help and get the word out to others in the community.
For more information on how to hire contractors, please visit www.hawaii.bbb.org.
Better Business Bureau of Hawai‘i1132 Bishop Street #615, Honolulu, HI 96813-2813
Phone & Phone Hours:808-536-6956 (O‘ahu) | 877-222-6551(Neighbor Islands) | 808-628-3970 (Fax) 9:00 am – 2:00 pm, Mon. – Thurs., 9:00 am – Noon, Friday
File Complaint: www.bbb.org/file-a-complaint/