A lawyer may be needed if you think fraud has occured or basic rights or laws
were not followed.
The following consumer areas are highly monitored for
service and fraud problems.
If some of the tips below have been violated
or you feel you were defrauded, contact our lawyers for legal
What can you
Hiring a Contractor
Get bids from several contractors. Check status of the contractors license
with the State Department of Labor and Industries. Beware of Con Artists who go
door to door in unmarked trucks and claim to have left-over materials from a
nearby job site.
Signing a Contract
When signing a contract, make sure all the terms are in
writing and include:
- An exact description of the work
- A list of all
the materials to be used
- Who is responsible for permits
- The total cost
and a payment schedule
- Any warranties
- Who does the clean-up
- Signature of both parties
- Ask about liens - - you may want to request
the contractor give you original "lien releases" from each supplier &
subcontractor before you make final payment.
Before You Have Repairs Done:
- Ask family & friends for recommendations
- Check with your local Better
- Ask about warranties for work done
- You need to ask for damaged parts to be saved
- You are entitled to written
estimate on repairs over $100.00 if you deal face-to-face
- Your permission
must be given for repairs that are more than 10 percent over the authorized
- Get all warranties & promises in writing
How to Avoid Becoming an Identity
- Do not give your Social Security number, mother's maiden name or account
numbers to strangers who contact you, especially by phone, Internet or mail.
Identity thieves sometimes pose as business, bank or government representatives
to get you to reveal personal information. Legitimate financial or government
organizations that do business with you already have this information and will
not ask for it by calling you.
- Pay attention to what time of the month your bills arrive. If they don't
arrive on time, call the creditor to make sure an identity thief hasn't changed
your billing address to keep you from discovering phony charges.
- Guard your mail from theft. Don't leave outgoing mail in your mailbox.
Take it to a collection box or your local post office. Promptly remove mail
after it has been delivered. If you are planning to be away from home, call the
U.S. Postal Service at 1-800-275-8777 to request a vacation hold.
- Put passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts. Avoid using
easily available information like your mother's name, your birthdate, the last
four digits of your Social Security Number, your phone number or an easy series
of numbers such as 1234.
- Don't carry your Social Security card. Leave it in a secure place. Give
the number out only when necessary. Use other types of ID when possible.
- Don't carry credit cards or ID cards you don't need.
- Tear or shred charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance
forms, physician statements, bank checks and statements, expired charge cards
and credit offers you get in the mail.
- If you want to inspect your credit report, order a copy from each of the
three major consumer reporting agencies. Make sure it is accurate. The law
allows credit bureaus to charge up to $9.00 for a copy of your report. You can
request a free copy if you've been turned down for a credit application and the
denial of credit was based on the information from the reporting agency.