Following the recent storms, Attorney General Mike DeWine is warning Ohioans to watch for traveling contractors who may try to take advantage of homeowners in need of assistance.
"After severe weather hits, it's important to be vigilant about home improvement scams," DeWine said in a statement.
Victims should be wary of scams:
Research a home improvement contractor before signing a contract. Obtain the name, address and phone number of the contractor agreeing to do work. Ask for identification from the company's representative. Request and contact references. Check for consumer complaints with the attorney general and the Better Business Bureau.
Do not accept services from a contractor who refuses to provide identification, does not have a permanent place of business, cannot provide references or insists on a large upfront payment, such as half or more of the total cost.
Get written estimates from at least three contractors. Refuse to do business with a company that does not provide a written estimate.
Consumers generally have three business days to cancel door-to-door sales. A business must notify customers of this right and cannot begin services until after the three-day period has ended.
For those financing the transaction, arrange for a certificate of completion with your bank. The bank will pay the contractor for each completed stage of the job only after permission is given.
Insist the contractor provide a sworn statement that all materials and subcontractors have been paid. This will help protect from liens that may be placed on the property if the contractor fails to pay suppliers and subcontractors.
For more information or to report a scam, contact the Ohio Attorney General's office at www.ohioattorneygeneral.gov or (800) 282-0515.Attorney general warns of scams