As a homeowner, you rely on contractors to perform work on your property with professionalism and honesty. Unfortunately, not all contractors live up to these expectations, and misrepresentations can occur. If you're planning on hiring a contractor, it's important to be aware of the most common misrepresentations that contractors may make. Here's what you need to know.
One of the most common misrepresentations made by contractors is the use of false credentials. Contractors may claim to be licensed, bonded, or insured when they're not, which can leave homeowners at risk if something goes wrong during the project. Therefore, always check with the applicable governing bodies to ensure that the contractor’s credentials and licenses are legitimate.
Overstating qualifications or experience
Contractors may also misrepresent their qualifications or experience to win a job. They may claim to have expertise in a certain area, such as roofing or plumbing, when they don't, or they may overstate their experience to make it seem like they're more qualified than they actually are. Here, you may want to independently verify these claims by speaking directly with previous clients that retained the contractor to perform work. And, if the contractor refuses to provide references, this may be a red flag.
Falsifying references or reviews
Another common misrepresentation is the falsification of references or reviews. Contractors may provide fake references or reviews to make it seem like they have a good track record of performing quality work. Again, you may want to speak with the references directly and not simply take the contractor at his/her word.
Failure to disclose important information
Contractors also have a duty to disclose important information to homeowners, such as any potential issues or risks associated with the project. Failure to disclose this information can be considered a misrepresentation.
What to do if you suspect a misrepresentation
If you suspect that a contractor has made a misrepresentation, it's important to take action as soon as possible. You may be able to terminate the contract and seek damages for any losses you've suffered as a result of the misrepresentation. However, if you delay and/or fail to take action against your contractor in a timely manner, you may waive certain rights. Therefore, it is always best practices to be proactive when a dispute arises.
How to prevent misrepresentations
The best way to prevent misrepresentations is to work with reputable contractors who have a history of performing quality work. You can also take steps to protect yourself by carefully reviewing your contractor agreement and ensuring that it includes provisions that require the contractor to be truthful and honest in their dealings with you.
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