The Federal Trade Commission recently launched a consumer education publication that aims to protect homeowners from falling victim to home-repair rip-off artists. The publication, "After a Disaster: Repairing Your Home," urges homeowners to take the following precautions when hiring contractors: Deal only with licensed and insured contractors; Verify the track record of any contractor you are thinking of hiring by calling their recent customers, your area Better Business Bureau and Home Builders Association, insurance agents, and claims adjusters; Get recommendations from family, friends, and co-workers; Take your time signing a contract – don't automatically select the lowest bidder, and make sure you fully understand any price variations. Ask a knowledgeable friend or attorney to look over your contract before you sign, and be sure to get a signed copy of the contract before work begins; Verify that there is no cost for an estimate before letting anyone into your home...
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