Columbus, OH - Spring is around the corner, with many looking to make home improvements both inside and out. Many contractors and sales persons are legitimate. Unfortunately, their reputation can be tarnished by unscrupulous operators. When deciding on a company to help keep your residence in shape, BBB urges homeowners to beware of door-to-door sales and dishonest contractors.BBB encourages consumers to do their homework to avoid situations like these:1. BBB is warning consumers of Phil's Tree Service, a tree-trimming company targeting older consumers by knocking on doors in Canton, Ohio. The business owner, Phillip Norman, appears on door steps asking for cash upfront to trim limbs and haul away branches and debris brought down by winter weather. According to complaints filed with BBB, Mr. Norman may ask for more money than what was originally agreed upon for work that the consumer didn’t ask him to do.One elderly Canton man alleges that Mr. Norman came to his home and cut down trees without permission, then asked to use his restroom and have a cup of coffee. He asked the resident for $1,400 and wanted to take him to the bank to get cash for the payment. The man called the police after Mr. Norman returned again several days later.Phil's Tree Service business cards have an address of 765 Brighton Blvd, Zanesville, Ohio 43701, but mail sent to the address has been returned from the US Post Office as vacant.Consumers are advised to contact the authorities if approached by this man.2. BBB is also issuing a local alert against Richard Dryden, doing business as Mold Tech - formerly known as Absolute Mold Remediation, Absolute Mold Removal and All Mold Solutions. Since the fall, BBB has received multiple complaints against Mr. Dryden with consumers losing upwards of $10,000 combined.Public court records show that Mr. Dryden has served time for passing bad checks in 2008, and was charged with theft in 2011 in Hamilton County. His current business address is the Homestead Motel in Whitehall, Ohio.BBB offers tips to help protect yourself against door-to-door contractors and get the work done properly:Do not make decisions at your front door. If your property requires maintenance or remodeling, BBB recommends researching prospective contractors and sellers at bbb.org, to see what other consumers' experiences have been like. Finally, do not invite unsolicited sales people into your home.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. Check with your local city regarding the rules of soliciting in your neighborhood. Many times a special license is required for those salespersons going door to door.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.Check all contractors' credentials. Make sure they provide proof of required insurance coverage, licensing and proof of registration.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. Never pay in advance more than one-third of the contract value.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.If you ever feel in danger, call local authorities. If a seller or contractor gets irate and/or difficult with you (for example, does not leave the premise after you have already asked), call the police. It's better to be safe than sorry, and reporting potential problems may help others avoid precarious situations in your neighborhood. For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org. Media Contact:Kip Morse email@example.comAbout BBBFor more than 100 years, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2017, people turned to BBB more than 160 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which was founded in 1921 and serves 21 counties in Central Ohio.