Better Business Bureau warns of home improvement scams

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Better Business Bureau is warning homeowners that the wrong contractor could cost you hundreds of dollars.

Robert and Waltraud Bockholdt moved into their mobile home in Rio Rancho three years ago.

Life was good for the retired couple until two young men and a kid offered to wash and wax their motor home for them last month. They agreed.

“Well, at the end of it, when they were finished, he presented me an invoice,” Robert said. “He was marking out like over $1,000 and I said, ‘What are you doing?'”

For a job that would normally cost them a little over $400, Bockholdt said they didn’t even do the wax.

“They didn’t do any of that, they just basically power-washed it,” Robert said.

The Bockholdts are one of at least five consumers in New Mexico that the Better Business Bureau said fell victim to home improvement scams this year – who lost a total of $3,500.

“These scams, the perpetrators are often door-to-door solicitors,” said Brian Baca, BBB New Mexico president.

Baca said the scammers usually come out after major storms, offering homeowners to fix any damage, and then scamming them.

Baca recommends saying no to cash-only, handshake deals, and asking contractors for their credentials.

“Ask if they have a contractor’s license and if they’re insured and bonded,” Baca said.

Baca also recommends that you ask for multiple quotes and get those estimates in writing, making sure all verbal promises are included in a contract.

“Consumers pay some big money for these projects,” Baca said. “They really need to do the research on these companies.”

If you think you were scammed, you can report it on the BBB’s Scam Tracker. For additional tips about hiring a contractor, click here.