AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Paving contractors, they go door-to-door or put flyers on your door or mailbox. They claim to be working in the area, and sometimes say they have leftover materials that they need to get rid of and offer a discounted price. Some will ask for money up front, but when the job is supposed to start, they either don’t show up at all, show up and don’t work, or show up and do terrible work.

Make sure to check out the BBB (Better Business Bureau) before making any decisions, and remember the following.

How to avoid contractor scams

  • Be wary of unsolicited offers. Most scams involving contractors begin when a random contractor makes an effort to go out of their way to offer an estimate that was never requested.
  • Research companies and contractors before you hire. Start with BBB.org.If the contractor has multiple negative reviews and complaints, don’t hire them. Often, a simple internet search will reveal companies or individuals that have been involved in fraudulent activities or provided unsatisfactory work to previous clients.
  • Get everything in writing. Ask for an estimate in writing before payment is even discussed. Don’t let a contractor start working on a project until a written, signed contract outlining start and complete dates, a detailed description of the work to be provided, material costs, payment arrangements, and warranty information is provided.
  • Stagger payments. Most contractors will require a percentage of the total price upfront, but it should never be the full price before the work has begun. Instead, agree to stagger payments so that work can be inspected at various stages of the project.
  • Use safe payment methods. Paying with a credit card provides some peace of mind since the credit card company will help you if the company is fraudulent. If you use a check, write it to a company, not an individual. Paying cash or using an electronic wallet app is risky since there is no way to stop the payment or get some money back if anything goes wrong.