Spring repair advice

ROANOKE, VA. - Normally, March is the month when home improvement contractors start to move into the area. By following some simple tips and rules, consumers will be able to hire a contractor or handyman with confidence.

" Taking some time to check out a company completely will give you the peace of mind that you've hired a respected and vetted company," says Julie Wheeler, President and CEO of BBB Serving Western VA. "If you sign a contract with someone who has shown up on your doorstep, remember you have the Three-Day Cooling-Off Rule which gives consumers three days to cancel purchases of more than $25, if the contract is signed at their home and the work has not been started. The salesperson is required by the Federal Trade Commission to provide a receipt for the purchase, along with a cancellation form if the consumer changes their mind."

 One consumer told BBB that a contractor claimed they would deal with the consumer's insurance company on their behalf. BBB urges consumers to speak directly with their insurance agent. The contractor may state that they can get the insurance company to cover the cost, but the contract may contain a clause stating that additional damage may be found after work begins. Unfortunately, the insurance company seldom covers this additional work, and the consumer is presented with a bill for a few thousand dollars that they were not anticipating. In other situations, the contract requires a large upfront fee, if not the homeowner's entire insurance check, to be paid before work begins. The check is cashed immediately and the roofer never shows up and does not respond to voice mails or emails.

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