Summer projects increase likelihood of scams

3 years 11 months 4 days ago Monday, July 21 2014 Jul 21, 2014 Monday, July 21, 2014 10:04:00 PM CDT July 21, 2014 in News
By: Beth Anne Carroll, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA- As the weather continues to get warmer, many residents take advantage of the summer days to get housework done.

However, simple home improvement projects could be risky this time of year. 

"This is the time, spring and summer, where we see handymen scams coming around due to power washing, cleaning and staining decks, roofing and asphalting driveways because the good weather has happened," said Latisha Stroer, the Public Information Officer of the Columbia Police Department.

Columbia PD warned citizens about the potential for scams with a notification in this month's city newsletter after receiving numerous complaints last year.

Mike Harrison, the regional director of the Mid-Missouri Better Business Bureau said the scam is not new and can really hurt the residents. From March to October last year, Harrison said the BBB received 11 complaints, many coming from the same company. 

"We had a situation last Fall where a company was going in, they were working with consumers, getting deposits from them, but they would not come back and complete the work," Harrison said. "And unfortunately, this particular company closed up shop, they left town and people were unable to get their money back unless they went to small claims court."

The recent storms that hit Mid-Missouri may only make matters worse this summer.

"With the storms that we saw last week, you get a lot of those fly-by-night companies where, they'll come in, they'll quote you a price to do the work. Sometimes they'll do the work, sometimes they'll take your money and they'll leave and they won't do the work," Harrison said.

The Missouri Attorney General recently took action against 16 home-repair businesses for consumer fraud. According to the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division, consumers have filed 334 complaints against home-repair businesses statewide this year.  

There are several ways consumers can protect themselves from potential scams. Harrison suggested getting a written contract with any company or contractor hired and to ask about the company's insurance in case there is an accident on the property.

He also advises consumers to use the rule of thirds. This means the customer pays one-third of the total cost of the project upfront. In the middle of the project, the customer should pay another third if they like the progress. The customer should pay the remaining money once the project is complete. This rule, Harrison said, protects the customer by not making them pay the full cost upfront.

Stroer suggests customers get referrals and estimates from other people before hiring anyone and to make sure they have a city of Columbia business license.

Harrison said the risk is always there, but research is key in avoiding a scam.

"As long as you do your homework, you should be ok."

Consumers can find licensed contractors and handymen through the Better Business Bureau website.

More News

Grid
List
(CNN) -- The US Food and Drug Administration approved a cannabis-based drug for the first time, the agency said Monday.... More >>
8 minutes ago Monday, June 25 2018 Jun 25, 2018 Monday, June 25, 2018 12:53:28 PM CDT June 25, 2018 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — The Missouri Attorney General's Office says almost 4,890 rape kits sitting in police evidence lockers or hospital... More >>
18 minutes ago Monday, June 25 2018 Jun 25, 2018 Monday, June 25, 2018 12:44:08 PM CDT June 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The chairman of the House panel investigating former Gov. Eric Greitens says the committee no longer... More >>
21 minutes ago Monday, June 25 2018 Jun 25, 2018 Monday, June 25, 2018 12:40:46 PM CDT June 25, 2018 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin has cracked a rib of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill while performing the Heimlich... More >>
3 hours ago Monday, June 25 2018 Jun 25, 2018 Monday, June 25, 2018 10:00:30 AM CDT June 25, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – The First Presbyterian Church in Jefferson City is kicking off its annual “Food 4 Kids” program Monday.... More >>
5 hours ago Monday, June 25 2018 Jun 25, 2018 Monday, June 25, 2018 7:36:00 AM CDT June 25, 2018 in News
(CNN) -- A 15-year-old is being widely praised for an act of kindness during a cross-country flight. Clara Daly... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, June 25 2018 Jun 25, 2018 Monday, June 25, 2018 5:47:00 AM CDT June 25, 2018 in News
CAPE GIRARDEAU (AP) — Former Missouri Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder has resigned from a leadership position with a federal agency,... More >>
7 hours ago Monday, June 25 2018 Jun 25, 2018 Monday, June 25, 2018 5:29:00 AM CDT June 25, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Police Department said one person is in custody after a shooting on Rice Road Sunday night.... More >>
11 hours ago Monday, June 25 2018 Jun 25, 2018 Monday, June 25, 2018 1:04:00 AM CDT June 25, 2018 in Top Stories
TIPTON - Some Tipton residents are working together to run their own hog farm. This is in response to... More >>
17 hours ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 7:46:00 PM CDT June 24, 2018 in News
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (AP) — Sprint car driver Jason Johnson has died following a crash at Beaver Dam Raceway in... More >>
21 hours ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 3:52:00 PM CDT June 24, 2018 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A 17-year-old from Jefferson City will be competing at the CrossFit Games in Madison, Wisconsin in August.... More >>
22 hours ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 2:20:00 PM CDT June 24, 2018 in Sports
(CNN) - Partial results in Turkey's snap elections put President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party in the lead, lifting... More >>
23 hours ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 1:58:00 PM CDT June 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - The Missouri Bikers Against Child Abuse group met with children to discuss past altercations with abusers in their... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 9:04:00 AM CDT June 24, 2018 in Top Stories
COLUMBIA - Power was restored at approximately 9:00 AM CT Sunday morning for most customers in the affected areas. ... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 8:53:00 AM CDT June 24, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA - MU has saved money and reduced emissions through its long-term energy efficiency programs. The university has reduced... More >>
1 day ago Sunday, June 24 2018 Jun 24, 2018 Sunday, June 24, 2018 8:20:00 AM CDT June 24, 2018 in Top Stories
ST. LOUIS - An attorney is suing a nonprofit group connected to former Gov. Eric Greitens for its records. ... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 9:52:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
COLUMBIA- More than 200 people ran in the Hope for Heroes 5k on Saturday. The fundraising event was a... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 8:40:00 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Outside a sprawling mall in the Saudi capital, Riyadh, young single men and women walk... More >>
1 day ago Saturday, June 23 2018 Jun 23, 2018 Saturday, June 23, 2018 6:21:17 PM CDT June 23, 2018 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 81°
1pm 81°
2pm 84°
3pm 84°
4pm 83°