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Des Plaines, Ill., October 29, 2003 The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) offers homeowners these top ten warning signs that a home improvement contractor may not be reputable:

    Avoid contractors at all costs when:
    • You can't verify the name, address, telephone number or credentials of the contractor.

    • The salesperson tries to pressure you into signing a contract, such as the salesperson tells you a special price is available only if you sign the contract "today."

    • The company or salesperson says your home will be used for advertising purposes so you will be given a "special, low rate."

    • Information you receive from the contractor is out-of-date or no longer valid.

    • You are asked to pay for the entire job in advance

    • The company cannot be found in the telephone book, is not listed with the local Better Business Bureau, or with a local trade association, such as NARI.

    • The contractor does not offer, inform or extend notice of your right to cancel the contract within three days. Notification in writing of your Right of Recision is required by law. This grace period allows you to change your mind and declare the contract null and void without penalty (if the agreement was solicited at some place other than the contractor's place of business or appropriate trade premises-in your home, for instance.)

    • They come to your door unsolicited.

    • Say they just finished work on your neighbors house and have just enough materials to do repair work on yours. They might say they can give you a better bargain if you let them do the work today since they have the supplies now.

    • The contractor exhibits poor communication skills or descriptive powers.

    • The contractor is not accessible.

    • Your questions are not answered to your satisfaction.

    • The contractor is impatient and does not listen.

    Make Sure You:

    • Ask for references.

    • Get all details of the offer in writing and carefully review it.

    • Be sure you understand everything in the contract and that any verbal promises made are included in the contract.

    • Determine how long the company has been in business and call organizations with which the contractor is affiliated, such as NARI or other trade associations, to determine the firm's legitimacy.

    • You are given vague or reluctant answers or your questions are not answered to your satisfaction.