BBB Offers Advice on Avoiding Springtime Scams

From Landscaping to Tree Trimming – Consumer Beware.

Wallingford, CT, April 05, 2008 --( Spring is a fertile season for scam artists, according to your Better Business Bureau. Con artists may show up at your door offering an array of products and services, from magazine subscriptions to tree trimming and roof and driveway repair.

Some may offer to pave your driveway with leftover materials, or even remodel your home for a low price. Your BBB says however, be on guard against unscrupulous fly-by-night operators. What may seem like a great deal could end up emptying your pockets.

According to Better Business Bureau Connecticut President Paulette Hotton, there are several indicators that you may be the target of a scam. “One ‘red flag’ is that these con artists may drive vehicles with out-of-state license plates or set up temporary offices from which they can disappear quickly once authorities start looking for them.”

Before you shell out money to anyone or allow them into your home, BBB recommends the following:

• Get the name and address of the company the vendor claims to represent.
• Ensure all details and verbal promises are included in a contract. Review it and make sure that you understand everything in the document.
• Verify the individual is licensed, bonded and insured.
• Don’t always go for the lowest bid. If estimates for the same work vary widely, find out why. Sometimes unscrupulous operators may use sub-standard materials or take longer to finish the job.
• If you have checked references and the company’s reputation and intend to use its services, make checks payable to the company, not the sales person or any other individual, and never pay with cash.
• Avoid many springtime scams simply by checking an individual or company’s track record by visiting for a Reliability Report.

Companies which operate above-board and want your business will not pressure you into making an immediate decision, and give you the time to check them out. Don’t fall for tactics such as being told this is a “one time chance,” and that you must make an immediate decision whether to hire them.

If it is an expensive repair, you should be especially cautious.

Aside from Better Business Bureau Reliability Reports, you will also find hiring tips and can request a job quote from BBB accredited businesses on our web site.

Better Business Bureau CT
Howard Schwartz
203-279-2700 ext. 103