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Home Improvement Guide 2007
On the money
Whether it's a fresh coat of paint or a total home renovation, sooner or later it comes down to paying for it.
On the money
6 sleazy home improvement scams
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  • Hot Tar Roofing: Contractors send mailings, telemarket, or go door to door in this scam, offering a price that sounds too good to be true and want to do the job immediately. They often use substandard materials. You may not realize you've been duped until heavy rains cause the roof to leak, resulting in damage to the building's interior. Sometimes you can't determine the quality of the job until after it has been completed. "If you're having major work done, ensure that your contract has a hold-back clause where you withhold the final payment until 30 days after completion of a project," Levinson says.
  • Furnace repair: Once they inspect your furnace, they may claim it is leaking dangerous gases or is about to explode. Ask your utility company to come inspect your system. Also, be wary if a contractor tells you the unit is too small or needs a complete overhaul. When choosing a contractor, always get several estimates on the needed repair.
  • Duct Cleaning: In very unusual circumstances ducts must be cleaned. The scheme is called a "blow and go" because the scam artist will use a small vacuum cleaner with no special filters to stir up the dust, pollen, mold and other contaminants instead of removing them. Duct cleaning can be necessary if there is mold in the house or if the heating or air conditioning has been running with inadequate or nonexistent filtering. If you change filters regularly, your ducts don't need to be cleaned.
-- Posted: April 4, 2007
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