Posted: Jul 21, 2014 10:04 PM by Beth Anne Carroll, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Aug 6, 2014 3:16 PM
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.
Posted 10:31 AM 11/26/2015 by The Associated Press
KANSAS CITY (AP) - Arrests for drunken boating on Missouri waterways have fallen by 63 percent since the Missouri State Water Patrol merged with the Highway Patrol.
State records show that arrests for boating while intoxicated fell from 352 in 2010, the last year before the merger, to (More)
Posted 10:22 AM 11/26/2015 by Annisa Budiman, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA - As people are preparing for their Thanksgiving feast, shoppers are planning to get the best deals for Black Friday. Many stores are again starting Black Friday sales early on Thursday this year.
The National Retail Federation's (More)
Posted 9:40 AM 11/26/2015 by Eric Yount, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
BOONE COUNTY - An early morning fire broke out in a house at 6399 Old Village Road Thursday.
Battalion Chief Gale Blomenkamp of the Boone County Fire Protection District said a couch caught fire in the living room, causing smoke and heat damage throughout the room. The woman living there and her two dogs were able to escape without injury.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Posted 8:41 AM 11/26/2015 by Eric Yount, KOMU 8 Digital Producer
MEXICO - Mexico Public Safety arrested a man early Thursday morning in connection to a shooting in Mexico.
The Mexico Public Safety Department responded to calls of a man being shot just before 2 a.m. Thursday and found a 32-year-old man in the road in the 900 block of Carrico Street. (More)
Adv. - more news below
Posted 6:56 AM 11/26/2015 by The Associated Press
SPARTA (AP) - A southwest Missouri police chief has been placed on leave after killing a pit bull.
The Springfield News-Leader reports that Sparta Police Chief Andrew Spencer was placed on leave Tuesday.
A police report says a resident told Spencer earlier this month that (More)
Posted 5:40 AM 11/26/2015 by The Associated Press
OZARK (AP) - A Missouri woman has been found dead after shooting at bail bondsmen and exchanging gunfire with law enforcement.
Sgt. Jason Pace, of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, identified the woman killed Wednesday afternoon as Somer Brook Speer, of Ozark. She also is a bondwoman (More)
Posted 5:37 AM 11/26/2015 by Eric Yount, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA - Dozens of turkeys were cooked Wednesday in preparation for a community meal Thanksgiving day.
This marks the 18th year of Almeta Crayton's Community Programs "Everybody Eats." A full Thanksgiving meal will be available to guests at Stamper Commons on the Stephens College (More)
Posted 6:14 PM 11/25/2015 by Taylor Stevens, KOMU 8 Reporter
JEFFERSON CITY - The developers of a proposed shopping center off of Mission Drive asked the Cole County Commission for $800,000 to extend the road to the site. The Harvard Company, LLC is working to develop a site near Highway 179 that would include restaurants and retail stores among other (More)
Adv. - more news below
Posted 1:08 PM 11/3/2015 by Collin Ruane & Emma Nicolas, KOMU 8 Reporters
BOONVILLE - It's almost that time of year again. Students across mid-Missouri will anxiously wait to see if they get any snow days this school year. But are students getting more days off for less snow?
To find the answer to that question, KOMU 8 News went through more than a decade worth (More)
Posted 12:02 PM 11/25/2015 by Steve Dawson, KOMU 8 Reporter
COLUMBIA - Cooking grease can cost homeowners money if it's improperly disposed of.
This holiday season, Missouri American Water is launching a state-wide campaign to "can the grease."
Instead of pouring cooking grease down the drain, the organization urged residents to put used (More)