If you need window repair or want to install new energy-efficient windows for your home, one of the first places you’ll look is the internet. After all, there are a lot of window companies out there—you want to make sure you get the best service!
Unfortunately, there are also many scammers, and homeowners who aren’t aware of the signs can fall prey to these fraudulent contractors.
Here at Shanco, we don’t want you to run into any home contractor scams this holiday season (or ever), so keep reading to learn about some of the most common types of home contractor scammers and how you can avoid this type of fraud!
Types of Scammers
There are a number of different scammers/unlicensed contractors to be aware of. Three common ones include:
- Fly-by-night scammers: They are there one day, usually offering low prices for work, and are gone the next. These types of scammers often try to get deposits without doing any work. Be very wary of this. Contractors shouldn’t be asking for money on the front end.
- Tailgaters: Tailgaters drive through neighborhoods and offer great prices because they are “working in the neighborhood.” We’ll put it this way—if you think “this price seems too good to be true,” it usually is!
- Storm chasers: Storm chasers follow storms and try to convince homeowners that their windows have experienced damage. They’ll tell you that their insurance covers the project. They may even cause damage to your home during an “inspection.” After a severe storm, it’s a good idea to look at your house yourself before calling contractors—that way, you have a pretty good idea of the extent of the damage.
Avoid Window Contractor & Home Improvement Scams
How can you avoid these types of scams and avoid these fraudulent contractors? Be extremely wary of companies that:
- Ask for money up front.
- Tell you they don’t need to pull a permit.
- Don’t have references or tell you that you can’t contact them because of confidentiality.
- Change the price based on problems they just discovered (before you sign the contract, ask about change orders).
- Don’t allow you to verify license or insurance information.
- Give you information that is outdated or no longer valid.
- Give you vague or unsatisfactory answers, don’t seem to listen to you, or try to pressure you into signing a contract.
You should never feel pressured, uncomfortable, or unsure when you’re talking to a window (or any home improvement) contractor! Be sure to:
- Ask for references and contact at least three of them.
- Check professional websites—be sure to look the company up on the Better Business Bureau.
- Verify the company’s physical address and phone number. When you search for a legitimate company online, their location is displayed. No physical address and wrong telephone numbers should raise big red flags.
- Verify the company’s license and insurance.
Visit the National Association of the Remodeling Industry online to read more about signs that a contractor is untrustworthy.
If you’re looking for a window company serving the Maryland, DC, and Northern Virginia areas, Shanco is the name to know. Call 240-454-3799 or get in touch with us online today to learn more about our window services or if you’re ready for an initial consultation!