CLEVELAND — The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning after a neighborhood group scam involving phony door-to-door contractors has been popping up in the area.
The scam invites residents of a neighborhood to participate in a “group buy” where residents all agree to use the contractor for any home improvement service to save money — the more neighbors involved, the higher the discount.
Phony contractors tell residents that in order to reserve a spot for the neighborhood, a contract needs to be signed and a deposit made on the spot. They tell residents that they can earn even more discounts by providing the address of neighbors who might also want to take advantage of the “group buy,” but end up taking off with money and a list of people likely to fall for the scam as well.
According to the BBB, most high-pressure doorstep sales that include the chance of losing a deal without immediate action are typically a scam.
The BBB suggests anyone considering entering a contract with a door-to-door make sure they have the following included in the contract:
- Company letterhead, which includes full name of contact, physical address (not just P.O. Box), phone, email and website address
- Start and completion dates
- A detailed description of the exact work to be done
- Any material costs
- Payment arrangements (Don't pay more than 30% upfront)
- Warranty information (Both product and workmanship)
- Specify who is to obtain necessary building permits
- Specify who is responsible for clean-up
- All verbal promises must be included in the contract
- Must be complete, not an incomplete or partially blank contract.