The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

June 3, 2014

Cleveland’s Better Business Bureau warns about summer scams

While many scams are prevalent throughout the entire year, some see a spike in popularity during the summer months.
Sue McConnell, senior vice president at the Better Business Bureau Serving Greater Cleveland, said residents should be on the lookout for home improvement and repair scams. Many companies will follow the warm weather and go door-to-door to make sales.
“We always caution home owners from using strangers to do work on your home,” McConnell said. “Use local businesses and check them out with us.”
A common pitch that less reputable companies use is that they just finished working on a neighbor’s home and have some left over materials that they can offer at a steep discount.
“They make it seem like a good deal that you have to take right now,” she said.
Home owners should always get multiple estimates for a job.
If a salesman refuses to give you a business card or does not allow you to call them later with a decision, do not give them your money.
“Don’t just make a knee-jerk decision with someone walking through your neighborhood,” said McConnell.
The BBB has even received reports of workers offering a free roof inspection after a storm.
But when the worker goes on the roof, he purposely causes damage and claims it was from the storm.
To avoid this scam, McConnell advised contacting your insurance company soon after a storm occurs, so it can give an honest damage assessment.
If someone visits your door unwarranted, local police advised to ask for their identification.
“Solicitors are supposed to be registered and should have a permit that they’re instructed to show upon request,” said Capt. Carl Dondorfer with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office. “If they don’t, I’d be highly suspect of them.”

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