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Beware of Shady Door-to-Door Repairmen

Wednesday, April 13, 2005
As we approach the season for spring storms, I want to remind you that con artists often travel in the wake of high winds, hail and tornados, hoping to take advantage of homeowners anxious to replace lost shingles, seal leaks, and otherwise repair their properties. Beware of unscheduled, impromptu inspections of your home, especially your roof, by anyone who comes to your door. Exercise the same caution you would use at any other time. Use licensed or bonded contractors or reputable builders, don't be rushed into signing a contract, and don't pay in full for work that has not been finished. Get the terms of any warranties in writing and ask for references from other customers.

In springtime, even when there has been no storm, con artists may try to talk you into repairs or offer special deals involving "surplus" materials. Common scams involve "sealing" roofs or pouring new driveways. Some of these scammers may appear professional and may be very polite and friendly. I urge you not to impulsively order any kind of home repair or construction that you were not already planning, just because someone approaches you with an offer.

In some cases, the "contractor" even offers to drive the victim to the bank to get cash. If a repairman approaches you about repairs you aren't sure you need, be very cautious. If that person tries to pressure you into withdrawing money from your bank account, call your local police. Once inside a bank, do not be afraid to ask the teller for help, if you are feeling intimidated.

Any professional home repair or construction contractor will be happy to let you think over an offer for a day or two, and will be glad to give you references. A contractor who offers a one-time-only, now-or-never, I'll-drive-you-to-the-bank offer is almost certainly a con artist who is about to rob you. Don't fall for it!

General Abbott's signature
Greg Abbott
Attorney General of Texas

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