Home renovation scams remain persistent in B.C., routinely costing people thousands of dollars, according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Simone Lis, president and CEO of BBB of Mainland British Columbia, says “fly-by-night” businesses use high-pressure sales tactics and demand upfront fees only to deliver shoddy work or no work at all.
“Homeowners should be extra cautious when hiring a contractor for their home renovation projects, given that 69% of consumers who encounter this scam lose money, with a median average loss of $661,” said Lis, in a statement Aug. 23.
“If you hire the wrong vendor, you could be facing a wide range of problems from unfinished work and damage to your property, to losing valuable time and hard-earned dollars,” added Lis.
A typical scam may include the contractor soliciting their services door-to-door. They offer bid promises and warranties that never come to fruition, noted the BBB.
Home improvement scams rank fourth in Canada for riskiest scams, behind cryptocurrency, advance fee loans and online purchases.
BBB provides tips for preventing such scams:
- Search for a contractor’s BBB profile at BBB.org
- Search online for the company’s website and profile. Inquire if they belong to a professional association that has a standard code of ethics.
- Inquire with that professional association for licensing and membership. The Industry Training Authority can guide you on certifications for each type of work.
- Ask for references from previous customers
- Shop around; get multiple quotes
- Get estimates in writing and ensure a contract is written and understood prior to signing
- Ensure the contractor has insurance
- Confirm building permits with your municipality and have the local building official inspect before final payment
- Inquire about a lien waiver
The BBB of Mainland British Columbia serves the Lower Mainland, Thompson-Okanagan, northern, central and southern Interior, and the Yukon.