Better Business Bureau alert about contractors

Better Business Bureau and Washington State Labor and Industries are issuing an alert to consumers over a recent and steady stream of complaints against contractors. Homeowners wishing to remodel or improve houses complain to BBB that after paying thousands of dollars for home repairs the work is either shoddy or never completed.

Better Business Bureau and Washington State Labor and Industries are issuing an alert to consumers over a recent and steady stream of complaints against contractors. Homeowners wishing to remodel or improve houses complain to BBB that after paying thousands of dollars for home repairs the work is either shoddy or never completed.

“BBB generally sees an increase in home improvement inquiries and complaints during this time of year,” warns Robert W.G. Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “Our biggest concern is when homeowners pay a lot of money upfront and get very little or nothing in return.”

To date in 2013, BBB and L & I have received thousands of complaints on contractors and home remodeling companies.

“Most contractors follow the rules,” says Liz Smith, Assistant Director for Fraud Prevention and Labor Standards at the Washington Department of Labor and Industries. “But illegal contractors are not registered, have no insurance and no bond. While L & I can cite the contractor for operating without registration, the victim is still out the money they’ve paid.”

Before building, BBB advises homeowners to first nail down a plan.

 

Lay out the project from start to finish. Be specific. Explain exactly what is desired and understand the contractor’s responsibilities—including zoning, architectural plans and supplies.

Research the credentials. Make sure businesses are bonded, licensed and insured; confirm business licensing and professional licensing through Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Check the references. Find out how long contractors have been in business and ask for portfolios of work samples. Talk to former clients about their experiences and if possible, visit past job sites.

Request in-person estimates. Obtain written estimates from at least three contractors and don’t always select the lowest bid. Insist that each estimate include the cost of materials and labor, and get a description of exactly what the contractor will do and how long the project will take.

Get a written contract. Request a full description of the project, complete with start and finish dates. Get a written list of warranties and guarantees on workmanship, total cost, payment schedule, business information and licensing. Never sign a blank or partially-filled agreement and always retain copies.

 

L & I recently launched the ProtectMyHome campaign, where consumers can easily check contractor registrations and find worksheets for screening potential contractors and guides on how to spot problems during projects. BBB and L & I also advise consumers to never entirely pre-pay for services. Visit the BBB Accredited Business Directory for a complete list of quality local contractors.

More in Business

Carbon fee hurts businesses and families | Don Brunell

A carbon tax would raise over $610 million in its first year and jump to $761 million by 2023, but the added cost from the initiative over 15 years is projected to be 57-cents a gallon.

Firehouse Pub: slight change of address but atmosphere remains the same

It was quite the project, renovating the pub’s new home.

Enumclaw’s QFC debuts home delivery service

The first order is free, but other orders will come with a charge.

Boeing’s venture into hypersonic jets | Don Brunell

The company’s come a long way since nearly crashing the company with its first attempt at supersonic flight.

Avoiding trouble while Tweeting | Don Brunell

Your social media can hurt you or help you when looking for a job.

Lampson beating odds for family-owned businesses | Don Brunell

According to The Family Firm Institute, only about 30 percent of family-owned businesses survive into the second generation and fewer than 12 percent are still viable into the third generation.

Much-needed dose of Yogi Berra’s wisdom | Don Brunell

We need less sarcasm and to alleviate the vilification of one another that we constantly witness in the news and on social media.

Trade wars hit state’s cherry growers hard | Don Brunell

Earlier this year, President Donald Trump imposed a 25 percent tariff on $34 billion of Chinese imports to punish China for its alleged predatory tactics toward American technology companies.

Columbia River treaty talks too vital to ignore | Don Brunell

The United States and China are currently renegotiating the Columbia River Treaty.

Bellevue company patent infringement win gives small investors hope | Don Brunell

Until recently, our courts have been little help to patent owners.

Podiatrist opens Enumclaw practice

Go see Dr. Bock at 853 Watson Street North, Suite 100.

American giving has surpassed $400 billion | Don Brunell

“Americans’ record-breaking charitable giving in 2017 demonstrates that even in divisive times our commitment to philanthropy is solid.”