June 19, 2018
20th Judicial District
District Attorney Michael Dougherty
Community Protection Division: 303-441-3700
Consumer Alert from District Attorney Michael Dougherty
(Boulder County, Colo.) -- District Attorney Michael Dougherty advises Boulder County
residents to exercise caution when considering making home repairs in the wake
of the severe storms occurring this week.
Scammers often pose as hail damage
experts, contractors, handymen or repair people and visit property owners in the aftermath
of severe weather, whether or not property has been damaged. These repair people typically travel
door-to-door, and may offer to inspect homes, cars or property to assess
damage. They then “find” damage that the
resident was not aware of, and ask for a deposit – or even full payment – up
front to pay for the cost of the materials they need to make the repairs. The scammers then disappear with the
Other home repair hoaxes also peak during summer months. In these scenarios, a contractor or repair
person appears at a resident’s door, telling the resident that they have unused
materials left over from another job in the neighborhood and offering a great
price to perform work on the spot. They
might pose as driveway pavers, landscapers with surplus plantings, or other
home repair workers. Even if it really
is a bargain (by no means a sure thing), taking them up on the offer is risky
if the resident has no idea who the contractor is and hasn’t checked
references. And there is seldom a way to
find that repair person again if the work is unsatisfactory.
The Community Protection Division of the Boulder County
District Attorney’s office (CPD) advises residents to be vigilant in their dealings
with clean-up companies, contractors, builders and others offering repairs,
especially in the wake of the damaging storms this week. Those in Boulder County who want to check out
a business can contact the CPD at (303) 441-3700, and
are also advised to follow these tips:
Never hire a contractor or repair person
on the spot, whether it’s an emergency repair person who shows up after a major
storm, or someone claiming to have surplus materials and offering a great price. Take your time to check repair people out to
make sure they have a good reputation and do quality work.
Do not contract with repair people who
come door-to-door claiming that they may have been hired by a neighbor. Check out their trucks, cars and equipment
for local addresses and phone numbers. Note
license plate numbers and states where license plates are from.
Get more than one estimate, in writing and
on company letterhead/forms.
Check out any company with whom you think
you would like to do business with the Colorado Secretary of State, the Better
Business Bureau and the CPD.
Verify that a contractor is licensed. Contact the city or
county Land Use office where your property is located.
Never pay the full price for repair or
contract work until the work is completed and you are satisfied. Experts recommend not paying more up front than
$1000 or 10% of the job total, whichever is less.
- Use a contractor that is locally established,
and recommended by friends or family. Always
ask for and check references.
- Make sure everything you and the contractor
agree on is written into the project description. Add any items that are missing, put your
initials next to each addition, and have the contractor initial, too – all
before you sign.
For further information, call the CPD at (303) 441-3700.