Construction scams target Northern Nevada residents in spring

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Courtesy Nevada State Contractors Board

Spring is coming, and that means traveling home-repair scammers will be making their way back to northern Nevada, including Fernley, as homeowners begin making alterations to their homes after the winter.

The Nevada State Contractors Board (NSCB) advises Fernley residents to beware of these travelers – small crews that roam door-to-door soliciting painting, driveway sealing, roof repairs and other home improvement jobs – often target northern Nevada in spring and fall.

“Unfortunately, travelers come to Nevada every year,” NSCB Executive Officer Margi Grein explained. “While they may show up in work vans or pickup trucks, travelers are not licensed contractors. They are frequently artists who travel from state to state performing subpar work, using inferior materials, failing to finish projects and sometimes distracting homeowners in order to steal cash and valuables. Then they escape town before their victims realize they have been scammed.”

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A common tactic is to troll residential neighborhoods in new trucks laden with supplies. They approach people working in their yards and garages, offering services at rates seeming too good to pass up, using materials “left over from a recently completing project down the street.” They pressure residents to make hasty decisions, as the deals are “today-only” discounts.

Grein outlined several warning signs that a home-repair “contractor” may actually be a traveling scam artist:

  • Arriving in an unmarked truck or van, often with out-of-state plates.
  • Demands for large down payments before any work is performed or to pay for materials.
  • Insistence on cash payments or requests for checks made out to an individual instead of a business entity.
  • No contracts offered. Homeowners should insist on detailed contracts, including a payment schedule along with material colors, quantities, brands and SKUs.

There are many reasons to hire a properly licensed Nevada contractor, regardless of the size or scope of the project. State law requires a contractor to have a license if performing any work related to plumbing, electrical, HVAC, or refrigeration as these are all trades that can have significant impacts to your health and safety if performed incorrectly. But be cautious! A business license is not the same as a Nevada contractor’s license!

That is why the NSCB encourages all Fernley residents to ask for the Nevada contractor’s license number and verify it on the Board’s website before entering into a contractor or having any work performed.

How does the NSCB protect homeowners?

Verifying a contractor has an “Active” license status at the time work is performed on your home affords you four years from the date the work was performed to file a complaint with the NSCB. This could include concerns of poor workmanship, project abandonment, or other issues that may arise during the course of your project.

Upon receipt of a complaint, the Board will perform an investigation to validate the concerns you have and provide direction to your contractor about corrective actions that need to be taken.

The greatest protection for owners of single-family residences who hire licensed contractors is the opportunity to be eligible for the Residential Recovery Fund, which can afford homeowners up to $35,000 in the event their contractor is unable to remedy the validated issues by the Board.

So, before you get started on your next home repair or remodel project, remember this:

Ask friends and family for referrals.

Get at least three bids from licensed contractors.

Verify licensure on the Board’s website before you sign a contract to ensure the status is “Active.”

Understand all contract terms and conditions before signing.

Never pay with cash or let payments get ahead of the work.

And always contact the Contractors Board with questions you may have. We’re here to help.

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