Research the company online
“A good thing is to verify on our website, bbb.org, the company name to see if they are accredited or to see if there are complaints for their business,” says St-Cyr. Companies don’t have to be accredited to receive a BBB rating, so it’s useful to check for large numbers of customer complaints there.
Looking for customer comments on different websites, forums and social media sites can also tip you off to poor customer service and potential fraud.
“When people get defrauded they tend to complain and leave reviews because they’re upset,” she says. A thorough Google search of the company and contractor’s name can help you avoid fraud.
Jeff Thomson, an RCMP analyst at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, says to also check how long the business has been in operation and to be skeptical of newer ones because they are more likely to be scams.
Get at least three estimates
“Another tip we would give is to get at least three estimates before making a decision,” says St-Cyr. Often, fraudsters post extremely low prices in hopes of attracting more people, which is why it’s important to get a second and third opinion, especially if the price seems too good to be true.
How you pay is also important. The BBB says most legitimate contractors will offer pay-per-plow services or split fees into two or three payments: one at the beginning of the season, one in the middle, and one at the end.
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