One of the things I have heard often is that in the chaos surrounding Hurricane Katrina contractors came in from all over the country, promised to do work, were unlicensed, took money from homeowners and then just took off with the money. A lot of people were hurt. Now new laws have been put in the place but it is still a buyer beware. From the State of Louisiana Board of Contracting Licensing.
|Hiring A Contractor – Checklist for Consumers|
Unscrupulous Contractor Scams
|Door To Door Solicitations|
|A solicitor offers to do roofing, painting or paying work at a reduced price. Once payment is made, little or no work is done and the project is abandoned.|
|High Pressure Sales|
|An unscrupulous contractor pushes for an immediate decision about work, which makes it impossible for the homeowner to get competitive bids, check licenses/registrations and review references.|
|A deceitful contractor offers to perform a free inspection, then claims that faulty wiring, bad plumbing, or a leaky roof put the homeowner in danger. The alarmed homeowner agrees to unnecessary and over-priced work.|
|Demand for Cash|
|A contractor demands cash payments, sometimes going so far as to drive the victim to the bank to withdraw funds. With money in hand, the unscrupulous operator takes the money and runs|
|Illegally Large Down Payments|
|A dishonest contractor takes more for a down payment than is reasonable, claiming to need instant cash for supplies and to pay workers. A down payment shouldn’t exceed 10% or $1,000, whichever is less, or reasonable to the size of the project after you have investigated the license/registration, and verified the references of the contractor.|
|A contractor states that a written contract is unnecessary—promising to deliver on the verbal agreement. The shady contractor takes advantage of the situation to perform shoddy work or none at all.|
|What You Should Know About Payments|
More Consumer Tips Relative to Hiring Construction Contractors
Let The Buyer Beware
Most licensed or registered contractors are competent, honest, hardworking and financially responsible. However, new residential construction, and home improvement projects are a top source of consumer complaints nationwide. Most of the problems that the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors see could be prevented if homeowners knew their home improvement rights and took responsibility for their project. A responsible and informed consumer can work more effectively with reputable contractors who follow state licensing laws and also adhere to other state laws regarding general liability, workers compensation, and laws governed by the Department of Revenue and Taxation.. By being informed the consumer can avoid being victimized by unscrupulous or unlicensed contractors.
The “buyer beware” principle can help prevent frustration and disappointment when preparing to make a major decision. By carefully considering what you want done to your property, what it will realistically take to do the job, and taking the time to research and check the license or registration status of the contractor you hire to do the job, you may avoid many of the headaches often associated with new construction or home improvement projects.
Almost everyone knows someone who has a nightmare story to tell about building or remodeling their home: the length of time it took; or the cost overruns associated with the project; or worse; a contractor who started, but didn’t finish the project; but, instead ended up with the owner’s hard earned money, and an uncompleted project. The added agony, frustration, and expense of having to finish the project themselves or hire another contractor to finish the work is indeed a nightmare situation!
Protect yourself, and your pocketbook; don’t become a victim! Take time to ensure that the contractor is licensed. Contact the Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors:
At 1-800-256-1392 or search our contractor license database by clicking here.