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Better Business Bureau ®
Start With Trust®
BBB Urges Consumers to Avoid Doing Business at the Front Door
June 06, 2013

Better Business Bureau serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit and Wayne Counties cautions consumers to beware of a wide array of warm weather scams in their neighborhoods.

The summer season often brings unwanted and fraudulent solicitations for a variety of products and services. They are run by con artists who move from town to town and state to state, performing poor work, or simply collecting deposits and leaving behind a trail of unhappy consumers.

Asphalt pavers - They offer cut-rate paving services, claiming they have material left over from another job in the neighborhood. Their work and materials are often substandard and the quality of work is poor.

Home improvement contractors - Many door-to-door contractors are unlicensed, uninsured and unqualified to do the work they offer.

Heating, roofing and chimney contractors – They may make false claims that major repairs are necessary or that heating equipment needs replacement.

Landscapers and cleanup crews – Scammers knock on doors and send out flyers at this time of year, offering yard maintenance and cleanup services. They may show up once or twice, or simply take a deposit and never return to do the work.

Magazine sellers – Students are often unaware they are being duped into selling magazine subscriptions for disreputable operators. In many cases, wrong magazines arrive, consumers are overcharged, or they never receive the order.

Alarm systems – BBBs across the country receive complaints about people selling alarm systems and failing to divulge terms of the contract for alarm system monitoring.

Christy Page, CEO and President of BBB serving Ashland, Medina, Portage, Richland, Summit & Wayne Counties, urges consumers to do thorough research before hiring because of shady operators. Locally, your BBB has over 26,000 free business reviews on companies in our service area which are available online or by calling our office at (330) 253-4590.

BBB offers six tips to get the work done properly, and protect against fraudulent operators:

  1. Don’t make decisions at your front door. If your property requires maintenance or remodeling, BBB recommends researching prospective contractors and sellers at www.akron.bbb.org, to see what other consumers’ experiences have been like. Also, do not invite unsolicited salespeople into your home.
  2. Ask for identification and information. If someone is selling door-to-door, request they provide you with proper identification and leave you with material to read about their products and services. Legitimate sellers and contractors will give you the time you need to research their reputation and reliability.
  3. Watch out for high-pressure sales tactics. Avoid sellers who encourage you to sign a contract or put down a deposit right away, claiming that they will offer a special rate, but only if you act immediately.
  4. Check all contractors’ credentials and make sure they are licensed, bonded and insured. Consumers may research licensing through the Department of Commerce, Ohio Construction Industry Licensing Board website at www.com.state.oh.us
  5. Get it all in writing. A contract should contain a description of the project, labor and materials to be used, a start and completion date and payment schedule. Make sure contracts contain any verbal promises in writing.
  6. Remember your rights. The Federal Trade Commission’s “Cooling-Off Rule” gives you three days to cancel purchases over $25 made at your home or other location that is not the seller’s permanent place of business.

Better Business Bureau also urges consumers to be even more wary of telephone solicitations for products and services. You will find additional consumer tips at bbb.org.