Home Repair Fraud

Every week I meet with someone who has been the victim of home repair fraud. Unfortunately, there is rarely a real remedy available when this happens because those committing the acts know how to skirt the criminal laws and rarely have any assets to recover. If there is one bit of practical advice that can actually protect you, it is this: make sure that if you are hiring someone to do repairs on your home, that they are BONDED. A lot of companies like to confuse consumers by stating that they are “insured”, however, this is in reality absolutely no protection to you against fraud. The liability insurance that most contractors carry simply provides that if they hurt someone, or destroy your property while they are working that they have insurance to cover that. It will not, however, pay you back if they rip you off. Making sure that a contractor is “bonded” is your best protection against fraud. However, do not accept their “word” that they or bonded, or even a document that purports to show they are bonded. Take a few minutes and contact the bonding company and verify that they are bonded, and notify the bonding company immediately once you have signed a contract with the contractor, so that the contractor is not able to go revoke the bond after he takes your money. In Oklahoma, General Contractors are not required to have any type of licensing, so it is incumbent upon you to protect yourself.

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