Thursday Aug 13 2009
Contractor fraud on the rise in Rocklin
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
For homeowners, picking an unreliable contractor could cost more than the job. Rocklin Police are warning residents of an increase of cases involving contractors without funds to pay suppliers, which can result in a lien placed on the house. According to Rocklin Police Sgt. Scott Horrillo, within the last 18 months, there have been about half a dozen cases like this in Rocklin. The most recent involved a homeowner who needed their windows replaced. A contractor was hired and paid by the homeowner, but the contractor did not pay the window supplier. The result? The window supplier placed a lien on the residence until either the contractor or resident pays the outstanding balance, Horrillo said. A lien on a house involves securing a loan, which must be paid when the property is sold. The cases are not fraud, as the contractors are refusing to pay due to lack of funds, but instead civil cases, Horrillo said. “It’s such an important thing, I never knew about it,” he said. Horrillo said residents should take precautions when hiring contractors by researching well-established businesses in the area, asking for and contacting references and also asking who the supplier is and contacting the company regarding the contractor’s payments. He also advises residents to research companies that are Better Business Bureau members. Tips for hiring a contractor: • Hire only licensed contractors. Call (800) 321-2752 to check a contractor’s license number • Get three references and preview the contractor’s past work • Get at least three different bids • Get a written contract and don’t sign anything until you completely understand the terms • Don’t pay cash • Keep a file of all paperwork regarding the job ~ Information from the city of Rocklin Web site Lauren Weber can be reached at email@example.com.