The Better Business Bureau warns of home improvement scams

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – The Better Business Bureau is warning homeowners that the wrong contractor could cost you hundreds of dollars.

Robert and Waltraud Bockholt moved into their mobile home in Rio Rancho three years ago.

Life was good for the retired couple until last month two young men and a baby offered to wash and wax their motor home. Agreed.

“Finally, when they finished, he presented me with a receipt,” said Robert. “He was spending over $1,000 and I was like, ‘What are you doing?’ I said.”

For a job that would normally cost them more than $400, Bockholt said they didn’t even do the wax.

“Then they didn’t do anything, they were basically power-washed,” Robert said.

Bockholts is one of at least five consumers in New Mexico who the Better Business Bureau says have fallen victim to home improvement scams this year — losing a total of $3,500.

“These scams, the criminals are often door-to-door solicitors,” said Brian Baca, president of BBB New Mexico.

Baca said the scammers often come out after big storms, tell homeowners to fix any damage, and then scam them.

Baca recommends cash only, handshake deals, and contractors with credentials.

“Ask if they have a contractor’s license and are insured and bonded,” Baca said.

Baca recommends asking for multiple quotes and getting these assumptions in writing, making sure all verbal promises are included in the contract.

“Consumers pay some big bucks for these projects,” Baca said. “They need to do research on these companies.”

If you think you’ve been scammed, you can report it on the BBB’s Scam Tracker. For more tips on hiring a contractor, Click here.

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