HOME REPAIR: KNOW YOUR CONSUMER
As you plan for your home
repair/improvement project, it is important to ask the right questions
in order to protect your investment. The tips in this fact sheet should
allow you to protect yourself and minimize the possibility that a
misunderstanding may occur.
AVOIDING HOME REPAIR FRAUD
Please use extreme caution when
confronted with the following warning signs of a potential scam:
Door-to-door salespersons with no
local connections who offer to do home repair work for substantially
less than the market price.
Solicitations for repair work from
a company that lists only a telephone number or a post-office box
number to contact, particularly if it is an out-of-state company.
Contractors who fail to provide
customers references when requested.
Persons offering to inspect your
home for free. Do not admit anyone into your home unless he or she can
present authentic identification establishing his or her business
status. When in doubt, do not hesitate to call the worker’s employer
to verify his or her identity.
Contractors demanding cash payment
for a job or who ask you to make a check payable to a person other
than the owner or company name.
Offers from a contractor to drive
you to the bank to withdraw funds to pay for the work.
Get all estimates in writing.
Do not be induced into signing a
contract by high-pressure sales tactics.
Never sign a contract with blank
spaces or one you do not fully understand. If you are taking out a
loan to finance the work, do not sign the contract before your lender
approves the loan.
Remember, you have 3 business days
from the time you sign your contract to cancel any contract if the
sale is made at your home. The contractor cannot deprive you of the
right by initiating work, selling your contract to a lender, or any
If the contractor does business
under a name other than the contractor’s real name, the business
must either be incorporated or registered under the Assumed Business
Name Act. Check with the Secretary of State to see if the business is
incorporated or with the county clerk to see if the business has
registered under the Assumed Business Name Act.
Homeowners should check with local
and county units of government to determine if permits or inspections
Determine whether the contractor
will guarantee his or her work and products.
Determine whether the contractor
has the proper insurance.
Do not sign a certificate of
completion or make final payment until the work is done to your
Remember, homeowners should know
who provides supplies and labor for any work performed on your home.
Suppliers and subcontractors have a right to file a lien against your
property if the general contractor fails to pay them. To protect your
property, request lien waivers from the general contractor.
BASIC TERMS TO BE INCLUDED IN A
Contractor’s full name, address,
and telephone number. Illinois law requires that persons selling home
repair and improvement services provide their customers with notice of
any change to their business name or address that comes about prior to
the agreed dates for beginning or completing the work.
A description of the work to be
Starting and estimated completion
Total cost of work to be performed.
Schedule and method of payment,
including down payment, subsequent payments, and final payment.
A provision stating the grounds for
termination of the contract by either party. However, the homeowner
must pay the contractor for work completed. If the contractor fails to
commence or complete work within the contracted time period, the
homeowner may cancel and may be entitled to a refund of any down
payment or other payments made towards the work, upon written demand
by certified mail.
Homeowners should obtain a copy of
the signed contract and keep it in a safe place for reference as needed.
IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE BEEN DEFRAUDED
OR YOU HAVE QUESTIONS
If you think you have been defrauded
by a contractor or have any questions, please bring it to the attention
of your State’s Attorney or the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
Attorney General Toll-Free Numbers:
Carbondale (800) 243-0607
Springfield (800) 243-0618
Chicago (800) 386-5438
As required by Illinois state law:
In acknowledgement of receipt of the
above form I the homeowner herein do sign and
In witness there in of, this is
signed and dated for RDI of P.O. Box 587 Champaign, IL 61824 by