Now that the weather is warmer, and the leaves are turning green, you probably will see sales people going through your area and knocking on your door. If you have an insurance claim for damages on your property, that is one thing. In an insurance claim, the prices are set by the insurance company, and you can select the contractor that you feel will do the best job for you. That contractor can negotiate with the insurance company if they feel that something was forgotten in the insurance scope, or the prices are not enough to do the job. In any event, the home owner is still responsible for their deductible on the claim no matter who does the job.
On retail sales for home improvements, it is a good idea to get several bids for the work. If you don’t do that, some companies have been known to take advantage of home owners who do not know what the going rate is. One case in point, this last week I got a call from a member of a business networking group that I am in. The man was concerned about an elderly lady that had a door to door sales solicitation from a company that offered to install a new door and patio door for $14,000. They latter went down to close to $9,000, but for just a door and patio door, that is still out of line. He was wondering if there was something that we could do to help her. The installer also had missed two appointments.
We did some background investigation, and made some calls. The other company finally did go down on the price more in the usual range, around $5,000 and they did install her doors. We were happy to help get this resolved, but here are a couple of things to remember when some one approaches you with a door to door sale like this.
- Do not sign anything until you get a couple of estimates
- What they are having you sign is a real contract agreement between you and their company and is binding
- Do not give them any money until you are certain that this is the company that you want to do the job.
- If there is no money exchange, there is no contract
- In Minnesota you have 3 days to rescind, or cancel the contract
- You should have been given a Notice of Cancellation form that explains the rights that you have as a home owner
One other thing that I can add is to make sure that you check the contractor’s licenses, references, and if they have good reviews on places like Angie’s List or the Better Business Bureau. Another thing that I always do is google the company.
License lookup at the Dept. of Labor: https://secure.doli.state.mn.us/lookup/licensing.aspx
Better Business Bureau: http://www.bbb.org/minnesota
Angie’s List: http://www.angieslist.com