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Educational Consumer Tips

27 Questions For Home Owners

Author: Rachel Willard
Published:
Category: Home Improvement

The best way to avoid trouble with any business transaction is to be a knowledgeable consumer. Better Business Bureau has prepared the following 27 Questions For Homeowners to quiz your knowledge about remodeling, re-roofing, re-siding, waterproofing and other home improvements. Each question indicates an area in which complaints have been reported to BBB. Weigh every word carefully and check every question. If you already have an offer for the work compare it against the quiz and see if you should proceed. Regardless of all 27 Questions, if you find an advertiser is a "Bait" advertiser of any articles or services for the home, don't do business with them! Baiting is "Knocking" the advertised job or its unavailability. If they try to trick you by "Bait" advertising, the chances are they will try to trick you some other way too, for their profit and your loss. You can't trust a "Bait" Advertiser.

Remember : The reliability of the seller is a most important factor in the purchase of any article or service.

Check each "Yes" or "No," then by adding up the total of your "minuses," you will have an idea as to whether you are ready to proceed.

  1. Do you know name of salesperson and name and local address of company?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  2. Do you know, or have you investigated to determine, before signing the contract, that the company is of good reputation, dependable, responsible?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  3. Have you asked the salesperson or company for references? Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  4. Does salesperson try to "high pressure" you into signing a contract?
    Yes -_____ No +_____

     

  5. Has the company or salesperson represented to you that your home would be used for advertising purposes, as a model job, or show-house, or by display of their sign, and that for this you would be given a special price?
    Yes -_____ No +_____

     

  6. If any guarantee is given, is it in writing in the contract, clear and specific as to what it means and as to what will be done in event of trouble? Yes +_____ No -_____

     
  7. . In reference to long-time guarantees, have you reason to believe that the company will be in existence or financially able to or willing to fulfill the guarantee, 10, 15 or 20 years later?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  8. Have you obtained more than one bid on the same job on exactly the same specifications? Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  9. Are the salesperson and company authorized to represent the manufacturer they claim to represent?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  10. Does company provide liability and compensation insurance to protect you in event of accident?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  11. Do you know what brand, grade or quality of siding or shingles or roofing this company will use?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  12. Do you know by what bank or financing agency your contract or note would be financed?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  13. Before signing a contract, have you consulted your own bank or financing agency about financing this job?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  14. To arrange for an F.H.A. insured loan, or a loan from your bank, or by mortgage on your home, or by refinancing your mortgage, have you obtained estimates or quotations on the job, in order to consult the bank before signing a contract?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  15. Has it been represented that F.H.A. has anything to do with performance of the company or guarantee of the job, other than merely insuring the loan granted by your bank?
    Yes -_____ No +_____

     

  16. If work is to be sublet, will you be protected against liens on your home?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  17. Regarding any repairs for which you expect to collect insurance have you checked with the insurance company first, before signing a contract?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  18. Does the contract contain the name and street address of company; specifications such as type and extent of work; when to be done or completed; areas; extras; description of materials such as quality, grade or name, weight, color, style, etc.; total cost, finance charges, annual percentage rate of interest, etc.?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  19. Are the things you want done specified clearly in the contract?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  20. Does the contract contain important verbal representations on which you depend?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  21. Does the contract contain a provision for payment of damages by you if you cancel the contract? Yes -_____ No +_____

     

  22. Are you asked to sign the contract in blank? Yes -_____ No +_____

     

  23. Have you read and do you understand the contract completely before signing and are you to be given complete, readable copy signed by salesperson or company? Yes +____ No -_____

     

  24. Does your contract promise labor only, with you to pay in advance for or furnish all materials? Yes -_____ No +_____

     

  25. Are you asked to pay in advance, or to pay cash to a salesperson instead of by check or money order to the company itself? Yes -_____ No +_____

     

  26. If the contract is to be signed in your home, does it contain a three day recision or "cooling off" clause permitting you to cancel it without penalty?
    Yes +_____ No -_____

     

  27. Are you asked to sign a completion certificate for the job by appeal, threat, or trick, before the job is properly completed.
    Yes -_____ No +____

     


Homeowners!

Watch for these schemes also: misrepresentation by linoleum or floor covering peddlers; exorbitant prices on worthless loads of fertilizer, loam, or peat moss; unknown incapable odd job repairmen; furnace repair scheme wherein your furnace is torn down and then you are told it is no good and that you need a new one; peddlers selling grass seed at exorbitant prices by misrepresentation; incapable appliance repairmen or those who take appliances and don't return them; unreliable termite or pest control operators; tricky contracts by any operators for any home repair or remodeling work; and bait advertisers of replacement or aluminum storm windows or other articles.

 

About the Author: Rachel Willard is Communications, Marketing Specialist & Webmaster for BBB serving Eastern Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island and Vermont. Find Rachel on Google +.

Questions and Comments

Question Submitted 5/29/2013

In regards to "baiting" what did you mean by Knocking?

BBB's Answer:

Baiting is "Knocking" the advertised job or its unavailability. If they try to trick you by "Bait" advertising, the chances are they will try to trick you some other way too, for their profit and your loss. You can't trust a "Bait" Advertiser.

Comment Submitted 8/21/2013

Good to know about how companies can steer one towards a costlier or more profitable job rather than the advertised one.

Comment Submitted 5/9/2014

This looks like a good survey! I have to put together a survey for people to answer for my English class. It is so we know how to do one and do research. ****************************************************************

Comment Submitted 6/13/2014

Very useful advice, would have been helpful prior to such instances as you describe on earlier occasions, not with the above workman!
Disclaimer:
Views expressed on this page are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Better Business Bureau.

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