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What is home repair fraud, and how can you avoid it?

Hurricane season starts on June 1. While many Florida residents will hope and pray that bad weather steers clear of them, it's inevitable that someone in the state will experience intense wind and rain that will cause damage to their property. It's important that you're armed with the knowledge to avoid being defrauded by deceptive home contractors that you may encounter.

Home repair fraud can take on many forms. A contractor may troll your Melbourne community after a hurricane or flood looking for damaged properties. When they identify one, they'll likely come knocking at your door. They often will wow you with how quickly they can get to work or a competitive price in hopes that you'll agree to let them handle your job. They'll ask for an upfront deposit to get materials, and you'll never see them again.

You may even have a problem at your home that you call different contractors to come and look at. They may seem like they have everything together including a portfolio of their work and references. You may realize that they've done a poor job once they're finished. Little did you know, but they used pictures they got offline and had you call their friends for references. Once you'd paid them, you may find that you can't reach them anymore.

Contractors may even team up with insurance adjusters and inflate the cost of repairs and then file suit against your insurance company. This could cause your insurer to raise your premium or to cancel your homeowner's policy. This may also create a legal nightmare for you.

One of the best ways to find out if the contractor that you're looking to hire is trustworthy is by researching them. You'll want to see if they have a license that's in good standing with the state, if they have insurance and check out their reviews.

You should also make sure to read your work contract in full. You'll want to see if an Assignment of Benefits clause is included in your contract. If you don't know where to look for it, then a lawyer can help you. If your contractor simply tells you that its existence is beneficial for you, then you shouldn't trust their guidance. A construction litigation attorney can explain why you may not want to sign a contract with one as it may be a way for them to defraud you.

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