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Choosing A Contractor (Pt. 1)

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KDKA's John Shumway speaks with the BBB about what you can do to protect yourself when hiring a contractor.

Video Transcript

- Well, springtime can bring out the best in people, but also sometimes the worst in people. This is prime time for unsuspecting people to be ripped off by less than reputable contractors. New this morning, John Shumway is here with what to look out for. And I know a lot of people will pay attention to this, John, because many people are thinking about doing some kind of renovation of their home this summer.

JOHN SHUMWAY: Yeah, and if you're not careful, you could lose thousands. This is classic. If it's priced too good to be true, well, it probably is. Whatever happens, don't rush into a decision and about making a deposit, not so much.

CAITLIN DRISCOLL: And unfortunately, in many of those instances, the work is either never performed or it never ends up being completed after that deposit is made.

JOHN SHUMWAY: Caitlin Driscoll with the Better Business Bureau says use the BBB and the State Attorney General's websites to make sure that the contractor is reputable and registered.

CAITLIN DRISCOLL: But especially when it comes to roofing repairs, repaving, resealing, driveway work, anything involving door-to-door solicitation, definitely do some additional research on that contractor.

JOHN SHUMWAY: She says make sure they are insured and ask for proof. So it should cover workman's compensation, property damage, personal liability, and really, this is to protect both you as the homeowner as well as the company.

JOHN SHUMWAY: Driscoll says the most common victim they hear from

CAITLIN DRISCOLL: Is a consumer who went with the first estimate that they received.

JOHN SHUMWAY: Yeah, Driscoll says always get, take the time and get at least three estimates before you sign anything, that way you make sure that you're paying the right amount in the proximity, and never pay for everything upfront.

- Oh, that is very good advice. And you know what, I mean, I think all of this just makes people kind of skeptical and gun shy and afraid to make a move.

JOHN SHUMWAY: Yeah, and for good reason, because when people lose money in this way, it's usually an awful lot of money. There are a lot of reputable contractors out there who can do the job for you, but you've got to protect yourself and just do your research.

- All right, thanks, John. Three estimates. Very important. I will remember that. I'll see you again soon.