BBB warns Illinois residents of landscaping, lawncare scams this spring
BBB warns of home repair fraud this spring
Steve Bernas of the Better Business Bureau in Chicago and Northern Illinois shares common fraud cases this time of year.
CHICAGO – – The Better Business Bureau warns Illinois residents not to fall victim to fraud this spring as the need for gardening gains momentum.
The consumer resource sent out guidelines in March urging residents to do their homework with a lawn care service before spending any money or signing a contract.
The nonprofit says scammers will take advantage of the high demand for lawn care services and set up fake businesses to rip off unsuspecting customers.
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“Fake websites that steal money and ID information from consumers are also still a big problem in the US. In the spring, we’ll see more fake websites pretending to sell anything related to lawn and lawn services and supplies Gardening has to be done, “said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of BBB of Chicago and Northern Illinois, said in a statement.
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The BBB encourages people to take these steps to protect themselves from scammers.
- Research and gather information.Once you’ve settled on service and a budget, get recommendations from friends and neighbors with lawns you admire. You can search a company’s BBB business profile on BBB.org to get free information about their complaint history, read customer reviews, and see if they’re a BBB accredited company. You can get a list of BBB accredited lawn care companies.
- Request a lawn inspection.Services that quote a price without seeing your lawn can’t be sure what your lawn might need. Companies sometimes ask you to discuss certain landscaping ideas in order to protect themselves from customers who receive their ideas and want to implement them themselves. When you sign a contract with the company, you are often credited with the initial fee.
- Make sure you have a clear scope of work before requesting estimates . This includes defining what area to work on and what you want to do. Do not compare apples to oranges when receiving bids. Make sure that every company has the same services. Also, make sure that each company shares costs in the same way (per visit, month, year, etc.).
- Ask for references and pictures of other jobs they have installed or serviced. If possible, visit these sites to get an idea of the quality of their work. Ask the references about their experiences before, during and after work.
- Receive receipts for every money paid.It is better to pay by check or credit card. However, if you are making full payment in cash, you will need to obtain written confirmation from the company with a list of the labor and material costs that the payment will cover.
For more information on spring scams, please visit BBB.org.