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The original item was published from 4/18/2019 4:09:22 PM to 5/19/2019 12:00:01 AM.

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Posted on: April 18, 2019

[ARCHIVED] DA and Consumer Affairs Office remind residents to be aware of potential spring construction scams

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Goshen, N.Y. – Orange County District Attorney David Hoovler and Commissioner of Consumer Affairs and Weights and Measures Charles Mitchell is reminding residents about traditional spring-time construction scams.

“If a deal seems too good to be true, it usually is,” Hoovler said. “Don’t trust a contractor who comes to your door soliciting business. Check references and get a written contract. Only pay for work in increments, as it’s being completed. Always report suspected fraud to police. Reputable contractors perform valuable services to earn an honest living, but there are scammers out there.”

Mitchell advises residents to avoid hiring anyone who comes to the door with an offer to repair or work on something on your home. According to Mitchell, door to door scammers will often leave work incomplete or just do poor quality work. Never pay up front for construction work.

You should not have to pay until the work is complete. Some companies will ask for a deposit before they start work, but that amount should be part of the total you pay when the job is completed.

You may be dealing with a dishonest contractor if:

  • The contractor is aggressive and won’t take no for an answer or keeps trying to persuade you to give them the job on the spot.
  • The contractor offers you significant discounts for cash-only payments or “today-only” specials.
  • The contractor doesn’t provide a written contract.

Hoovler said that shady contractors often offer on the spot, cut-rate work on gutters, chimneys, driveways or lawn clean-up work that is often unnecessary, or work that serves as a hook for more expensive jobs with skyrocketing prices. According to Hoovler, one of the most common scams involves blacktopping. The contractor “happens” to be in a homeowner’s neighborhood with an “unused” load of blacktop and offers to roll it out on the homeowner’s driveway at a reduced price. The contractor then continues to find a need for additional blacktopping work and supplies, until the price rises into the thousands of dollars.

“Before hiring anyone, research the company, ask for references and an up front listing of labor and material costs,” Mitchell said. “Consumers should also solicit multiple bids and keep in mind that the lowest bid may not always be the best.”

For more information, contact Justin Rodriguez, Assistant to the County Executive for Communications and Media Relations at 845.291.3255 or [email protected].

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