BBB warns of home improvement look-alike scam in Acadiana

  
     
Many companies in Acadiana spend years establishing a good reputation in the community, but one local individual is passing himself off as an employee of one of these great businesses to get work then doing a poor job.
March 31, 2014

 Better Business Bureau of Acadiana is alerting home and business owners to a contractor passing himself off as a reputable, local roofing company to solicit work door-to-door.

The real business reported the matter to BBB after receiving phone calls from several duped customers of the fake employee, who performed thousands of dollars worth of substandard or incomplete work.

The issue was also reported to local legal authorities, who are on the lookout for the person.

Consumers reported the man was going door to door claiming to be with a well-known local company, but his truck had no company markings and he wore no uniform with a company logo.

Consumers said they did not realize the fake employee lied about working for the real roofing company until they noticed substandard work and called the real business to complain.

Only after they spoke to actual company representatives did they realize they were taken by a fake who was not actually employed by the business, leaving the consumers with no way to have the shoddy work repaired or file a complaint with authorities.

BBB offers the following signs of a disreputable contractor:

  • A vehicle without clear company markings and/or out-of-state license plates. 
  • An overly aggressive sales pitch and request to begin work immediately. 
  • Demand for immediate payment, often in cash.
  • No written contract containing the three-day cooling off period required by law. 
  • Inability or reluctance to supply customer references. 
  • Failure to show proof of current insurance and licensing when requested. 

 BBB of Acadiana offers the following tips to avoid this scam:

  • Contact the business. When in doubt, call the business to check the legitimacy of the employee and offer. Be sure to find the phone number in a phone book or by a web search.
  • Never make a quick decision on a major purchase such as a home improvement. Do not be pressured into a quick by a salesperson or worker knocking on your door.
  • Take the time to consider all your options. Obtain multiple estimates on any job and be sure not to forget to check licensing and insurance after you have made a decision on a contractor.
  • Get a detailed contract – This should include start and completion dates, a description of materials and work to be done, any guarantees or warranties on workmanship and materials, and a payment schedule. The contract should also contain all verbal promises and notice of the federal cooling-off rule that allows cancellation within three days of signing and refund of any deposit paid.
  • Start with Trust®. Check with BBB before doing business at bbb.org.

The BBB of Acadiana works for a trustworthy marketplace by maintaining standards for truthful advertising, investigating and exposing fraud against consumers and businesses.

The BBB of Acadiana services the parishes of Acadia, Evangeline, Iberia, Lafayette, St. Martin, St. Landry and Vermilion.