Beware of scoundrels, charlatans, rogues, cheats, scam artists and other mercenary characters.
So said the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.
In a recent press release, the department warned consumers to be cautious, hire only licensed contractors, resist high pressure sales tactics and avoid snap decisions about home repairs.
“The immediate need for repairs following hurricane or heavy storm damage can cloud a victim’s judgment and make the prey to unscrupulous contractors and repairmen who may exploit the situation,” Mary Broz wrote in the release.
The department offered a list of “do’s” and “don’ts” for those in need of services.
— Deal only with licensed contractors. A contractor’s license can be verified by visiting http://www.dpor.state.va.us or calling (804) 367-8511.
— Get a written contract , with a firm price, start and finish dates.
— Contact local building officials for permit requirements.
— Limit your down payment to one-third of the total cost.
— Pay by check.
— Make rushed decisions.
— Sign anything until you understand all the terms.
— Pay 100 percent of the bill until 100 percent of the work is done.
— Pay in cash.
— High-pressure sales tactics
— Over-friendly sales tactics
— Escalating prices
— Price gouging
— Deals that sound to good to be true.
Consumers who think they have been victimized should call Prince William police at (703) 792-6500 or contact the Department of Professional Occupational Regulation, enforcement division, at (804) 367-8504.