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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > April 2021 > Watch Out for Home Improvement Scammers

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Watch Out for Home Improvement Scammers

As outside temperatures heat up, Ohioans will undoubtedly dive-in to new home improvement projects ranging from staining decks to installing new roofs. Many contractors do a great job, but unfortunately, some contractors prove to be less than reputable. It’s important that you do your homework before hiring a contractor; this includes getting more than one estimate and asking for references of prior customers who can vouch for the contractor’s work.

While there are many legitimate contractors, home improvement scammers often ask for large down payments but simply take the money and run, leaving homeowners with no repairs and no refunds. Then, they usually move on to another customer to repeat their scheme.

Some unscrupulous contractors may start a significant project only to stop their work without any notice, leaving the job unfinished. They may try to stall with false promises to finish the job, or they may ignore phone calls altogether. Others may simply perform shoddy work, leaving homeowners with projects that need to be completely redone.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost recently filed two lawsuits against contractors accused of scamming homeowners who suffered damage from the Dayton tornadoes in 2019 out of over $300,000 in total.
One lawsuit alleges that Robert T. Green, 54, through TK Home Improvement LLC, solicited homeowners after the tornadoes, taking $95,650 in payments and doing shoddy work or no work at all, according to complaints received by Yost’s Consumer Protection Section. 

The second lawsuit alleges that Tyler A. Puckett through his business, StormAid Restoration LLC, promised to repair roof damage. Several homeowners reported that Puckett, 31, of Hamilton County, collected $213,569 from them but failed to deliver goods or services, or did only minimal roof patching, in violation of the Consumer Sales Practices Act.

Follow these tips to help avoid becoming a scammer’s next victim:
  • Before signing a contract or making a payment, check a company’s reputation with the Ohio Attorney General’s Office and the Better Business Bureau. Conduct an internet search for the business and the names of individuals involved.
  • Do not make a large down payment. Instead, pay in increments – for example, one-third at the beginning of the job, one-third after half of the work is completed to your satisfaction and one-third when the job is completed.
  • Avoid paying in cash. It leaves you with a limited paper trail if something goes wrong.
  • Get all promises in writing.
  • Be cautious of contractors who want payment made out to themselves as individuals, instead of a company.
  • Understand that Ohio’s Home Solicitation Sales Act provides consumers with a three-day cancellation period for most contracts signed at their own home. The law also applies to contracts signed at any location that is not a company’s normal place of business (such as a home improvement show).
  • Look for the red flags of a traveling scam artist. If a contractor claims to have leftover materials from a nearby job or offers unbelievably low prices, be suspicious.  
Consumers who suspect a scam or an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at or 800-282-0515.