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There seem to be no shortage of contractors; how do you identify one who is less than reputable?

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They often give themselves away. The telltale signs:

Pressure is used to get you to sign a contract;

Verifying the contractor’s name, address, phone number and credentials is impossible;

Cash payments are only accepted, not checks made out to a company;

Payment for the entire job is demanded up-front, whereas most remodelers typically require a down payment of 25-50% of the contract price for small jobs and 10-33% for large jobs.

The contractor suggests that you borrow money from a lender the contractor knows, which could make you the target of a home improvement loan scam – a sure way to lose your home;

The contractor offers information that is out-of-date or no longer valid;

No references are available;

An inability by the contractor to communicate the project well;

Exceptionally long guarantees are offered;

The contractor fails to listens and talks over you; and

The contractor fails to notify you of your right to cancel the contract within three days; this “right of recision” is required by law and allows you to change your mind without penalty if the contract was provided at a place other than the contractor’s place of business or an appropriate trade premise.

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