Prevent Home Repair Fraud

The month of May has been designated as Remodeling Consumer Protection Month for the Home Builders Association of Alabama (HBAA)’s Remodelers.

Each year, the HBAA Remodelers partner with the Alabama Attorney General’s office, the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board, and the Better Business Bureau to increase consumer awareness of how to avoid home repair and remodeling fraud.

“Fraudulent remodelers not only hurt the consumers, but reputable remodelers as well,” said David Estreicher, 2013 HBAA Remodelers Chair. “When consumers are ripped off, that gives all remodelers, including those who are honest, a bad name. We want to make consumers aware of what to look for in hiring a remodeler and help them report fraud when it happens.”

Every year, the consumer affairs section of the Attorney General’s office receives hundreds of home repair fraud complaints, with consumers claiming losses that can exceed several thousands of dollars.
The following are some tips for finding qualified, reputable remodelers:

  • Verify that the remodeler is licensed by the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board as required by law.
  • Investigate the reputation and experience of the remodeler.
  • Seek referrals from friends, family, neighbors and co-workers who have had remodeling work done.
  • Check with the local Remodelers or Home Builders Association for names of remodeler members. Membership in the HBAA and the Remodelers indicates a remodeler's commitment to professional customer service and quality construction.
  • Check with your local or state consumer protection agency  or Better Business Bureau to find out if any unresolved complaints have been filed against the remodeler.
  • Request copies of the remodeler's insurance certificates to verify that he or she carries insurance that protects you from claims arising from property damage or job site injuries.
  • Don’t compare apples to oranges – when evaluating bids from contractors make sure they are based on identical project specifications.
  • Be wary of a contractor who asks for a full payment before the job has begun. A payment schedule should be part of your written agreement and may be tied to benchmarks such as completing various phases of the job.

The Attorney General’s office has established a hotline to take consumer complaints about home repair fraud. If you think that you have been the victim of home repair fraud, call (800) 392-5658.

The HBAA has published a brochure, “Protect Yourself from Home Repair Fraud”, which is available free of charge to consumers. For a free copy, contact the HBAA at (800) 745-4222 or by email at info@hbaa.org.

For more information about hiring qualified, licensed contractors, go to the “Find A Pro”  section of our website to find the local Home Builders Association in your area.

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