Beware of unlicensed contractors offering deals too good to be true
Scams, poor workmanship, and fraud can be avoided with a few basic steps
ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - It happens every time there’s a catastrophic weather event. Homeowners overwhelmed with storm damage need repairs and don’t have to look far.
The state attorney general and insurance commissioner issued a warning after January tornadoes brought in a flood of fraudulent contractors.
In Georgia, there are no licensing requirements for roofers, but there are requirements for residential contractors. Georgia contractors are required to pass criminal background checks and a state licensing exam, and the exam isn’t easy, and the State Licensing Board for Residential and General Contractors oversees and governs it all.
While there are strict regulations, enforcement is difficult, and unqualified and even fraudulent contractors are common. Atlanta News First Investigates has received thousands of complaints from viewers who say they were scammed. One viewer wrote, “Hired local contractor who quit shortly after getting 1/2 deposit for work, and (he) only completed 1/4 of the job. He’s done additional damage to my home and left it a mess!”
RELATED: What can renters do if their pipes burst due to the winter weather?
Scams, poor workmanship, and fraud can be avoided with a few basic steps.
Fraudulent and unqualified contractors often convince homeowners they can do the repairs for less money and that pulling a city or county permit is unnecessary, when it actually is.
RELATED: Never pay a residential contractor up front, Atlanta woman learns the hard way
There are easy steps homeowners can take to avoid getting into a situation.
The first is a Google search for the company’s name and the contractor, followed by “reviews and complaints.” If it’s a scam or the contractor is known for taking deposits and completing a portion of the work, there will be a pattern of complaints.
The Better Business Bureau is another excellent resource.
Search by name on the Secretary of State’s Professional Licensing web page to confirm you are hiring a qualified contractor.
You can search for a business license at the Georgia Corporations Division. If the contractor or company is a one-year-old LLC with a P.O. Box, it’s a red flag.
For guidance on hiring the right contractor, go to Georgia’s consumer protection division.
If there’s something you would like Atlanta News First’s Consumer Investigator Better Call Harry to look into, fill out this submission form.
Copyright 2023 WANF. All rights reserved.