The home improvement business is rife with scam artists as well as contractors that fail to follow local, state, or industry rules and regulations. Many prey on homeowners to make a fast buck. Within the hardwood flooring industry, these bad actors often do things like using inferior or even watered-down finishing stains, so that floors look fine at first but wear out fast. Flooring crews may use faulty or poorly maintained equipment, which can do serious permanent damage to floors. The worst part is that after paying someone to come back and fix their mistakes it often winds up costing consumers many times more than what they would have paid to have the work done right the first time, by real professionals. That’s not factoring in the expensive cost of delays or the unnecessary stress created by being a victim of this kind of all-too-common scam.
The good news is, you can easily protect yourself from unscrupulous contractors by just following a few expert tips.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that you should never use a contractor who asks for full payment up front, or one that will only accept payment in cash. They may vanish with your building materials and money.
- The majority of accidents and injuries leading to liability claims come from contracted workers, not homeowners. So don’t hire anyone who isn’t bonded and covered by appropriate liability and workman’s comp insurance.
- But don’t take their word for it. Call their insurance company and confirm that the coverage is still current. Many scammers will show you an expired insurance certificate, when the truth is their insurance has been cancelled and won’t protect you.
- The same goes for any required contractor licenses and certifications. You should insist on seeing a copy of the current license and credentials. I also suggest that you call the Department of Consumer Protection to verify that the license is current. Contractors have been known to cheat by losing their license but holding on to the old copy of it to bluff clients.
- Trust yourself. If something about the contractor seems sketchy or suspicious, listen to your gut. Or if they don’t present themselves in a professional manner and communicate effectively, answering all of your questions thoroughly, hire someone else. Above all, get everything in writing so that you know exactly what you’re paying for and can verify it if a dispute should later arise.
- Always ask for references, and contact those references to confirm that the flooring contractor did good work for them. Keep in mind that the so-called references could just be friends of the con artist who are pretending to be satisfied customers. It’s always best to see examples of the flooring work in person.
- For an extensive tutorial on how to hire a contractor, visit the page devoted to that topic on the website of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Also take advantage of other free resources like the Better Business Bureau to do background checks.
I’ve seen good guys and bad guys in every industry and profession, and at All Hardwood Floors we take great pride in our work and stake our reputation and brand on your customer satisfaction. If you have any questions or concerns, always feel free to contact me personally.
All Hardwood Floors LLC
Family owned and Operated
Norwalk, New Haven, Hartford and Westchester county New York and all surrounding towns.
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