HIDALGO COUNTY, Texas — With the damage left behind from Hurricane Hanna, many residents in the Rio Grande Valley are left trying to rebuild their homes.
With rebuilding comes an increase in door-to-door contractors looking to profit off of the rebuild process.
The Hidalgo County District Attorney’s office is warning that some of these contractors may act in bad faith and scam residents.
Tips to follow when hiring a contractor, provided by Hidalgo County:
- Get more than one estimate. Don’t be pushed into signing a contract right away.
- Try to use local contractors. Check the contractor out online and consider getting references from past customers.
- Don’t pay upfront. Get everything in writing and don’t sign a contract with blanks on it.
- Keep a copy of all documents. The total cost, work to be done, schedule, payment terms, and other expectations should be written in specific detail. A notice of cancellation – giving you the right to change your mind within three business days – must be included if the transaction occurs at your home.
- Ask for proof of insurance. Make sure that the contractor has disability and workers’ compensation insurance. If the contractor is not insured, you could be liable for accidents on your property.
- Ask for guarantees in writing. If the contractor provides guarantees, they should be written into the contract, clearly stating what is guaranteed, who is responsible for the guarantee (the dealer, the contractor, or the manufacturer), and how long the guarantee is valid.
- Protect yourself from identity theft. Don’t share personal information like credit card or bank information with anyone that shows up at your door.
- Don’t sign completion papers or make the final payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction. A reputable contractor will not threaten you or pressure you to sign if the job is not finished properly.
You can report a scam by calling your local law enforcement office or the District Attorney’s office at (956) 292-7600.
You can also file a complaint here.