When you hire a contractor to repair or remodel your home, the contractor is required by Illinois law to provide you with a consumer rights brochure. The purpose of the brochure is both to inform you of your rights as a homeowner and provide you with tips to avoid being scammed.
Warning signs of fraud:
- Door-to-door salespersons who offer to perform work for less than the market price.
- Companies (especially out of state companies) that list only a telephone number and P.O. Box for contact info.
- Failure to provide customer references when requested.
- Offers to inspect your home for free.
- Demand for cash payment.
- Request that you make a check out to someone other than the company or its owner.
How to avoid fraud:
- Request a written estimate.
- Do not sign a contract with blank spaces.
- Do not sign a contract that you do not understand.
- If you are financing the work with a loan, do not sign the contract before your lender approves the loan.
- Call the secretary of state to see if the contractor’s business is a corporation in good standing.
- Make sure the contractor guarantees his work.
- Require that the work be performed before making final payment or signing a certificate of completion.
- Request lien waivers for all work performed by subcontractors. These state that subcontractors have been paid for their work by the general contractor and prevent them from filing a lien against your home.
You have three days to cancel after signing a contract for home repair or remodeling. The contractor cannot deprive you of this right by beginning work within this three day period.If you think you have been defrauded by a contractor, you should speak to an attorney in addition to reporting the fraud to the attorney general. The toll free number for the attorney general is (800)368-5438.