More Home Improvement Scams in the News

Spring is scam time. Many state consumer protection agencies are issuing warnings to the public.

The Oklahoma Attorney General’s office is advising seniors to be careful of door-to-door home improvement contractors and loan schemes that require up-front fees.
Mallery Nagle, Edmond Sun

In Tennessee, the sheriff’s office has warned about traveling con artists being back in the area. They tend to drive plain, unmarked white utility vans. “They usually get out when the weather breaks, when they can get out and do the work outside …”, according to the sheriff.

“It’s not good work in that it won’t last,” Burns said. “They’ll mix materials together that the rain will wash away. They’ve always used diesel fuel to mix with silver paint to paint a barn roof. You can drive around and spot a barn roof, you’ve got silver and black streaks where the rain has washed it down.”

Burns says the same hold true for driveway sealer. “That’s what they do to make the material go further,” Burns said. “The diesel fuel will mix with the driveway sealer, and it looks good. It’s shiny and pretty, and you know, when it rains it’s gone.”

The Ohio Consumer Protection department expects to receive 25,000 home improvement scam complaints in 2007. Warning signs to look out for:

  • scare tactics – always get a second opinion
  • the bait and switch – beware the price that suddenly goes up
  • the “model home” discount
  • the “referral sale” discount – this is illegal in Ohio & other states

Read more at The Advocate, Newark Ohio.

Here is a great example of the bait and switch. You receive a coupon in the mail for a low price for duct cleaning but the actual bill is $1000 plus, usually for unnecessary repairs, such as claiming you have asbestos when it’s actually just fiberglass.

Another home improvement scam example? In this story, the scam artist posed as sales representative for a real renovation company; collecting money on behalf of the contractor without his knowledge.

For more info, see my previous post The Current State of Home Improvement Scams.

Ohio Remodelers are real ladies’ men

Professional Remodelers of Ohio is out to charm the ladies. This year, the RemodelOhio Show has undergone a bit of makeover, changing it’s name and shifting focus from DIY products and services to connecting homeowners with professional remodelers. In particular female homeowners, who are taking a more active role in deciding who to hire. In the words of PRO executive director Brenda Callaghan, “… women are becoming a stronger voice in remodeling. They want their homes to be nice, and they want to work with a professional.”

To that end, this year’s show caters to the ladies by having:

  • a female spokesperson (local broadcaster Robin Swoboda)
  • a soap star (Aiden Turner of “All My Children” fame), and
  • hair and makeup makeovers on the “Remodel Yourself” stage

in addition to more conventional seminars on kitchens, decorating, custom decks, and adapting your home as you age.

Did I mention the hot tub full of firefighters raising money for charity? No?

Well you have to give credit where credit is due. Ohio Remodelers have big cojones. It’s a bold move, I just hope it doesn’t alienate all the guys out there.

RemodelOhio runs Thursday Jan 25 through Sunday Jan. 28 at the International Exposition Center. Remember ladies, what happens in Cleveland stays in Cleveland. ;)

Read the source article New focus at remodeling show by Melissa Herbert on cleveland.com.

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