Tips for Avoiding Spring Scammers

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COLUMBIA - With springtime weather hopefully around the corner, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) said Friday mid-Missouri could see an influx of home improvement scammers.

When springtime weather hits Missouri, many people want to fix up their homes with a fresh coat of paint, a new roof, or other home improvement options.

However, many Missourians may be taken in by cheap, quick home improvement offers that cost money and provide little to no results. So the Columbia BBB chapter has some tips on how to avoid home improvement scammers.

Branch manager Mike Odneal has these words of advice:

  • Exercise caution right after storms, since this is when many scammers will come out. Previous hailstorms produced scammers going door-to-door in neighborhoods offering to fix roofs.
  • NEVER pay all your money up front. Pay in installments instead. For instance, pay a third of the money up front, another third when the work is halfway to being finished, and the last third when the work is completed.
  • Get multiple bids for the project to pick the best offer.
  • Do research on a company. Ask the company or contractor for references, look online for reviews, see if it is a BBB-accredited company.
  • If the company or contractor is from out of town, particularly without a clearly-labeled van or good documentation such as a business license, it could be shady.

Detective Tom O'Sullivan with the Boone County Sheriff's Department said Boone County hasn't seen many reports of scammers yet this year, but this is most likely thanks to the unusual weather patterns causing colder weather later on in the season. He also said to stick with accredited companies.

"Don't engage in major home improvement with someone who just shows up at your front door," said O'Sullivan.