San Antonio, TX -- As Texans rebuild from Tropical Storm Fay, many of those people, in the nine declared counties, will seek contractors to help in the process of rebuilding their homes. Most contractors are reputable individuals. Some, however, may try to take advantage of urgent repair needs in the wake of a disaster, and take advantage of victims.
Don't be a victim twice.
Look first to licensed local contractors who have performed well in the past. If they cannot help you, ask them to recommend reputable contractors.
Some government building departments and trade associations keep lists of contractors who work in the community.
Be especially alert for door-to-door solicitors who hand out homemade flyers and ask for large cash deposits or advance payments in full. To protect yourself from consumer fraud, use the following information as a guide:
- Are any contractors Federal Emergency Management (FEMA) or Division of Emergency Management (DEM), Texas Department of Public Safety approved?
No. Neither federal nor state emergency management approves or licenses contractors. Beware of any contractors displaying signs or paperwork stating they are approved, licensed, authorized or commissioned by FEMA or DEM.
- What types of payment arrangements are best when contracting for home improvement work?
You should be aware that most reputable contractors accept payments based upon the percentage of work completed. When structuring a payment schedule with a contractor, never make a full payment up front and insist on a receipt for any partial payment.
- Should an agreement for home improvement work be made in writing?
If a contractor refuses to enter into a written agreement and a problem occurs, you may have no legal remedy.
- Do reputable contractors solicit door-to-door?
Most reputable contractors do not solicit door-to-door.
- What should I do if a contractor starts a project and does not return to complete it?
If a contractor starts a project but does not return to complete it, you should immediately alert the Consumer Protection Unit of the Attorney General's Office.
Anyone with consumer concerns, or with a desire to obtain more information on consumer laws, may call the consumer hotline: 1-800-337-3928 or 1-800-621-0508, or access information through the Internet at www.oag.state.tx.us.