1. “Bait and Switch”– offering low prices for installed items like windows and home siding — Companies will “Bait” you in with what appears to be cheap prices; only to find the products being offered at these prices are cheap and inferior. Their only goal is to “Switch” to a higher price product by saying you need the better product or that the item is out of stock.
2. Misrepresenting the urgency of a needed repair — If the contractor urges you to move forward, because you could only make things worse by waiting; then be warned. Be patient and get a second opinion, but be ready to move forward if the situation requires you to do so.
3. Claiming the item is more expensive than advertised because it has to be “custom made” to fit your home.
4. Model Home Discount — Misrepresenting that the consumer is receiving a discount because the home is selected to be a “Model Home” for the repair when, in reality, the consumer is paying market price or more.
5. Misrepresenting the energy savings, health benefits, and value added to the home— It is now illegal for a company to represent their products as reducing your heating bills by a specific percentage unless they are a certified energy auditor. Health benefits may be possible, but keep things in perspective. Value added to your home’s value is also possible, but it does depend on the type of project you are doing and the region of the country in which you live. The real estate industry does a good job of producing a “Cost vs. Value” report each year indicating the cost vs. value of different home improvement projects broken down by region.
6. Misrepresenting financing — Too many people have signed financial documents without reading them and simply relying on the words of the loan closer. Make sure you understand the terms and all of the small print before you put your name on the dotted line.