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How to Avoid Being Scammed on Kitchen Remodeling Projects

Remodeling your kitchen can come with more than a few headaches. Cost overages, down time for your appliances, and other unexpected problems can all be part of the process. What you don't need to add to the mix is finding you've been scammed by an unscrupulous contractor.

Hire the Right Contractor

Most consumer advocacy groups concerned with construction and home improvement fraud sound the alarm loud and clear. Kitchen remodelers are sometimes scammed because homeowners don't have the "inside track" on the cost of materials, details of the work to be done, and local contractor reputations. Sometimes a homeowner is puts someone to work whom he doesn't know well, and it ends up costing more than it should.

Here are five scams that you'll want to avoid:

  1. Run with the money. Advance payments made for materials come up missing.
  2. Theft. Possessions belonging to the homeowner mysteriously disappear.
  3. No shows. Subcontractors leave you hanging when the job you paid for isn't completed.
  4. Substandard work. The results look good to start and then problems in the electrical wiring, plumbing, and finish work begin appearing.
  5. Financial crimes. Access to your home can mean trouble. Criminals leap at opportunities to use stolen checks, steal identities, and commit other forms of fraud such as filing false insurance claims and making unauthorized credit card purchases.

Choose the Right Kitchen Remodeler

How do you know you're contracting with a professional who will do the job right? There are quick checks you can make that may put you on the right track.

  • Civil court dockets. Check a contractor's local legal history to see if he's been sued or gone bankrupt. Being sued doesn't automatically mean the contractor was in the wrong, but it does raise red flags. Lawsuits and related information are public record.
  • Better Business Bureau (BBB). The local BBB can be a wealth of information. If consumers have taken the trouble to file complaints on your prospective help, be wary.
  • References. Even poor contractors will drop the names of references because they don't think anyone will actually check them. Make the calls. You may learn a lot, both good and bad.

Be careful of scam artists. A little healthy skepticism and homework before you hire a contractor for your kitchen remodeling project can save you more money than you know.

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