Have you ever been approached by someone at your door, offering you a renovated bathroom or a new roof at a price that seems just a little too good to be true? In this blog post, we’re sharing information about home renovation scams!
To kick things off, it’s important to know that Consumer Protection BC doesn’t oversee laws that speak to frauds and scams (as these are typically matters for the police). That said, we do regulate direct sales contracts – these are commonly known as door-to-door sales contracts and are contracts you enter into at a place other than at the supplier’s permanent place of business (usually your home). Sometimes home renovation companies use door-to-door sales contracts in their transactions, and you’ll also find information about your rights and responsibilities at it speaks to these kinds of contracts in this blog post.
Here are some tips to help reduce your odds of being a victim to a home renovation scam:
1. Know who you’re doing business with
Check out our webiste to see if the business has ever received consumer complaints or has faced an enforcement action from our office (these can include compliance orders, administrative penalties, direct sales prohibition orders and more). Also check with your local Better Business Bureau to read reviews and complaints about the company. Don’t forget it’s always OK to ask the contractor to leave a number for you to call when you’ve completed your research and are ready to make a decision.
2. Don’t feel pressured
Scammers will often try to pressure you to make a decision on the spot. Legitimate companies will always give you time to consider what’s actually being offered. Keep in mind that, in the long run, the cheapest quote isn’t always the best deal.
3. Read your contract carefully
Always make sure you get a written contract (a red flag is if the contractor wants to keep things verbal, disregarding the need for a paper contract). Read the fine print and know your cancellation rights. If your contract qualifies as a door-to-door sales contract under the Business Practices and Consumer Protection Act, know you have a 10-day cooling off period where you are able to change your mind and cancel the contract – for ANY reason.
4. Keep down payments to a minimum.
Don’t let the contractor talk you into making a large down payment to pay for materials – it’s possible they won’t return to finish (or even start!) the project. If your contract is a door-to-door sales contract, your down payment can’t be more than $100 or 10% of the total price – whichever one is less.
5. Be a good neighbour.
Share information with your friends and family about how they can avoid being scam victims!
Do you have a tip to share? We’d love to hear it!