Rockford, Illinois News

Better Business Bureau: Spring weather brings out home-improvement scammers

ROCKFORD — The Better Business Bureau is warning homeowners to watch out for scammers as the spring home-repair season begins.

Dennis Horton of the local BBB office says shoddy companies and fraudsters posing as legitimate home-improvement, lawn-care and roofing contractors start going to door-to-door, looking for unsuspecting victims as soon as the weather breaks.

Horton says hundreds of home-improvement scams are reported to the BBB each year, leading to millions of dollars lost. The latest BBB Annual Scamtracker Study released earlier this month shows victims lost more than $1,000 per incident.

“We urge consumers to do their homework before hiring,” Horton said. “Shoddy workmanship and contracting scams not only hurt consumers, but they also take away business from good contractors.”

Horton says the public should be skeptical of any contractor who goes door-to-door. Anyone who decides to work with such a solicitor should ask for their business card or information, estimates, and then shut the door.

“You can always research them later to see if it’s a legitimate business,” Horton said.

Tips to avoid spring scams include checking business ratings with the BBB, making sure a company’s license and insurance are up to date and avoiding hiring anyone who solicits via email, phone or door-to-door.

Horton said homeowners should take the time to get multiple estimates and ask for two or three reference before hiring a contractor they do not know.