On Friday 2-22-08, an elderly couple were unloading groceries when they were approached by 3 males claiming to be contractors. The 3 males said that the elderly couples stucco foundation had problems and that they would fix it for $450. The elderly male had noticed some cracks and so he asked when the contractors could start work. The contractors said right away. They began to work on the outside.
After a while the contractors asked to go inside to check the interior basement walls. They were allowed in. They said they found water on the walls and started working on the inside of the house. The elderly couple asked how much this would cost. The contractors just said we'll work it out later. The elderly couple continued to ask how much it would cost and were not given an answer. The contractors worked on Friday and said they would be back the next day.
The elderly couples adult children found out that there were people working on their parents home. They talked to the parents on Friday night and went to their parents house. They saw the "repairs" and felt they were substandard. They also looked at the basement walls and found them to be dry. The elderly father said that he felt the walls with the contractor and they were wet. The children felt that the contractor had sprayed water on the walls.
The children were at the parents house the next morning. The children had removed the contractors tools from the house and placed them at the front door. They talked to the contractors about their work. They also got the contractors ID (however he immediately tried to get it back). The contractors were questioned about their licensure, insurance and experience. The contractors said they had a contract to fix the stucco and asked the children if they wanted to step outside to settle this dispute. The children asked if professional contractors talk to clients in that way and called 911. The contractors immediately got into their truck and left without getting paid, even though the children asked how much was owed.
I don't know whether this was a scam or an honest disagreement. However, it does remind us to be vigilent to protect ourselves, our families and our neighbors.
If anyone comes around to your house offering to do work, please don't be pressured into signing something right there. Get their card and their estimate. Check with other contractors and get quotes. If work starts and other issues are found, make sure you change the contract so you know the price. If you have parents, elderly neighbors, or know other people who may be vulnerable to a scam, please talk to them and let them know how to handle someone coming to the door offering services.
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