Here’s a nightmare scenario: your house is severely damaged in a rare storm, and you hire a legitimate-seeming contractor to repair it or to raise your house on stilts to prevent flooding the next time a storm comes. Instead, the contractor either never began the work or wandered off partway through, leaving you without the money or a livable house. That’s what the state of New Jersey has accused a duo of contractors who are also a couple of doing. [More]
When a big retailer like IKEA refers you to a specific contractor, that means they’re pre-screened and you shouldn’t have any problems, right? Not necessarily. In California, a man who just wants to move back into his house after a fire and a significant remodel has been waiting for more than a year for IKEA’s contractor to just finish his kitchen already. [More]
When you hire a contractor and they do a competent job, you should be able to just hire that contractor again without checking their background and starting the process over. Right? Not so fast, as one person who aspired to have new doors installed in his home learned the hard way. He hired back a contractor he had used in the past without checking any licenses, and paid about $7,500 for his mistake. [More]
It’s one thing to go online and rant about a business that you’ve dealt with, exercising your right to free speech and warning other consumers away from dealing with that company. The problem, one woman in New York City learned, comes when you accuse the enterprise of actual crimes, using words like “scam” and “fraud,” and the company notices. [More]
Spike TV show “Catch a Contractor” uses the infamous model of NBC’s “To Catch a Predator,” but instead of snaring creepy men with the promise of an underage female, the Spike show lures in contractors “who have done their clients wrong” by posing as a new customer. But one contractor featured on the show says he was forced to sign a release for the show under duress and that the show unfairly portrayed his participation. [More]
What’s the difference between a contractor working for you and an employee? Often, an employee will receive benefits like health insurance and workers compensation if something goes awry, among other things, while a contractor is hired to do one job and that is it. Uber and Lyft don’t want their drivers to fall into the employee category and be responsible for all that entails, but thus far they haven’t been able to sway the courts to see it their way.
It’s not uncommon for employees and contractors to bring lawsuits against their employers for unpaid wages. One such suit was filed earlier this week by a former freelance worker claiming that Google didn’t pay overtime, improperly classified him as an independent contractor and terminated his contract after he asked for more hours. [More]
A company may have ads on TV and a website with lots of nice pictures, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a scam. Just ask the homeowners who have paid $15,500 to a bomb shelter company but have no bomb shelter to show for it, and who found out too late that the owner of the company has multiple previous complaints and judgments filed against him. [More]
On Monday night, a St. Louis TV station was planning to air a “5 On Your Side” investigation into a local contractor. Instead, they announced on the air that the subject of their investigation had been found dead in his home just a few hours before the scheduled broadcast. [More]
Get it in writing. Those are four words you need to repeat to yourself over and over whenever you have someone doing work on your house. Just ask the California woman who learned that her house-painters had torn down her patio cover, not because they were clumsy or reckless, but because that’s what they thought she’d asked for. [More]
Navid’s idea wasn’t bad: he wanted to install wood floors in his condo, and chose to hire installers from the store where he bought the flooring and supplies, Home Depot. This should be a simple transaction: he gives them money, they come over and put floors in his condo. It’s just that something that employees assured Navid wouldn’t be a problem suddenly became a problem. There’s a large dip and some cracks in his subfloor, and Home Depot’s original rough estimate for how much it would fix to cost the problem was much lower than it should have been. Navid agreed to pay that expense, and the contractors walked off the job anyway, saying that they wouldn’t be able to warranty the work. Now Navid is stuck with a lot of supplies and a ripped-up floor.
Kristina got estimates from a half-dozen different contractors to build her deck. All had excellent reputations and references. The company she ultimately chose told her that they would have the deck completed by the first week of May. Now it’s the second week in June, and there are a few holes in the ground, but no lumber, no workers, and no deck. She wonders: what should she do now?
Austin thought he was being sensible and avoiding scammy contractors when storms hit his area and his roof needed replacing. He turned down one contractor who just didn’t look professional, but the contractor he ultimately chose screwed him over while looking nice and professional. He paid for a roof replacement back in September, but the company stil hasn’t showed up at his house. He’s run through all of his legal options and filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, and now doesn’t know where else to turn.
The workers who came to Matt’s house and installed new gutters did a great job, but they damaged the siding. He doesn’t want to pay their bill until the (very minor) damage to his house has been fixed. But he also doesn’t want the company to sic a collection agency on him. What would the consumerists do?
Bidding wars for defense contracts make particularly fertile ground for corruption, and a federal employee may have gotten caught with his hand stuck in the cookie jar. Federal authorities have accused an Afghanistan-based U.S. Department of Defense employee of taking a bribe from a company there in exchange for helping to secure a government contract. The suspect was caught with a backpack stuffed with $95,000 in alleged bribe money.
An Iowa homeowner was surprised when he looked at his house and half the siding on it was gone, leaving an exposed underbelly of bare white plastic. No other nearby houses were affected. Had a highly localized tornado swept through and targeted just the side of his house? Nope. A local contractor got the address wrong and taken the siding off the wrong abode. The timing was pretty poor, too, as the homeowner had just put it up for sale. And because of insurance bureaucracy, it may be a while before the siding goes back up.
The Aqua Pool & Spa company in California had been building pools for over 20 years and had built up a good reputation, but after a bank went under and called in a $3 million loan, the company abruptly laid off everyone last week and shut its doors. Now everyone who was in the process of getting a pool built is stuck with torn up yards and half-finished pools. What’s worse, subcontractors are now dunning those customers for payment for services or supplies, even when the homeowners already paid (through Aqua Pool & Spa) months earlier.
Never, never open your door to a contractor who randomly appears offering to fix some unseen problem. You would think it’s common sense, but a California senior ended up paying a shady contractor $20,000 to perform $300 worth of work, and it took a sting operation to stop a Long Island contractor who was going door-to-door offering to plug nonexistent carbon monoxide leaks. So how can you protect yourself? Here are a few warning signs to beware….