Business

BBB: Beware of home improvement business scams

According to the Better Business Bureau in Charlotte, nine of the top 20 types of businesses that area consumers are researching on its online directory are home-related and include, among several others, plumbers, electricians, homebuilders and tree services, the BBB said.
According to the Better Business Bureau in Charlotte, nine of the top 20 types of businesses that area consumers are researching on its online directory are home-related and include, among several others, plumbers, electricians, homebuilders and tree services, the BBB said. CHARLOTTE OBSERVER FILE PHOTO

As the weather warms up and Charlotte-area residents start ramping up home improvement projects, the Better Business Bureau is warning consumers to be on the lookout for home improvement business scams.

According to the BBB in Charlotte, nine of the top 20 types of businesses that area consumers are researching on its online directory are home-related and include, among several others, plumbers, electricians, homebuilders and tree services, the BBB said.

Complaints about those businesses generally start coming in during the first week of April, said Tom Bartholomy, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont in Charlotte.

Normally, Bartholomy said, the top two complaint generators are roofing contractors and general contractors, which in North Carolina aren’t required to have competency licenses for most projects.

“Unless they’re doing jobs that are going to cost more than $30,000, they don’t have to get a license to do that,” Bartholomy said. “They need basically a business card and a hammer and they can call themselves a contractor.”

In South Carolina, Bartholomy said, if roofing or general contractors take on projects for more than $2,000 to $3,000, they must have a license.

“It’s odd because normally North Carolina has stricter rules and regulations on business than South Carolina does,” he said. “But South Carolina, in this case, has a much better handle on things.”

The bureau said people should be wary of contractors who advertise work at cut-rate prices or who come to the door claiming they’re doing work in the neighborhood. Instead, the BBB says consumers should hire a local contractor with a proven track record of doing business locally.

When looking for a contractor, among other recommendations, the BBB said consumers should consider a company’s track record, licensing, insurance, references and criminal history.

Peralta: 704-358-5079;

Twitter: @katieperalta

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