TAKING ACTION: Easy ways to protect yourself against building fraud

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

An Alabama Home Builders License. Look for this before hiring a contractor to work on your home.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – While we want to believe people will do the right thing,  there are some waiting to abuse that trust. The days of being able to make a handshake deal are long gone.

Randy Cunningham, Director of the City Inspector’s Department, has seen it time and time again.

But he says there are three keys to ensure you’re not hiring someone just out to steal your money:

  • Document everything. Have a contract for the work that’s proposed before allowing anybody to work on your property.
  • Double check. Verify they have the proper license. Demand to see it, and double check with the Alabama Home Builders Licensure Board.
  • Look out for red flags. Most contractors will ask for some money up front. But if they ask for half or 3/4ths of the amount, or all of it, reconsider the deal.

Lynn Kilgore with the Huntsville/Madison County Builders Association, has further advice: “They need to be asking for is a Certificate of General Liability Insurance and Workers Compensation insurance.”

Kilgore adds, contractors not only have to be licensed with the state, they have to have a license from their municipality.

You can reach the Alabama Home Builders Licensure board through their website or by calling (334) 242-2230.

The Huntsville/Madison County Builders Association provides further resources to help protect against building fraud.

You can also find a list of reputable contractors affiliated with the organization on their website.

As always, never hesitate to report a shady contractor or bad experience to the Better Business Bureau of North Alabama. You can call the WHNT News 19/BBB Consumer Action Line at (256) 850-0719.