It's time to address the roofing and masonry projects at your home. To ensure you make the right decisions, it's crucial to ask the proper questions when meeting with contractors. Given the significant cost of roofing and masonry services, protecting your investment is paramount. Being informed about your rights is essential. Continue reading to discover more about your rights and how to steer clear of fraud when dealing with roofing and masonry contractors.

Should you suspect that you have been a victim of fraud or if you have apprehensions regarding a contract you have been given, feel free to contact the Consumer Fraud Hotline at the Illinois Attorney General’s Office. The contact numbers are listed below:

Consumer Fraud Hotlines:

  • Springfield: (800) 243-0618 TTY: (877) 844-5461
  • Chicago: (800) 386-5438 TTY: (800) 964-3013
  • Carbondale: (800) 243-0607

The Illinois Attorney General's Office provides a set of criteria and tips to help you prepare for your upcoming engagement with a roofing and masonry contractor. Below is a condensed version of the checklist, but you can access the full "Know Your Rights 2020" pamphlet by visiting the Home Repair Know Your Rights page on illinoisattorneygeneral.gov.

Step 1: Learn the Contract Basics

1. It's essential to document everything - absolutely everything. Whether it's quotes, estimates, warranties, or guarantees, putting it in writing helps prevent any potential misunderstandings from arising.

2. It is crucial to record every detail - without exception. Whether it involves quotes, estimates, warranties, or guarantees, documenting it can prevent misunderstandings from occurring.

3. Be cautious of aggressive salespeople! A reputable roofer or mason will never pressure you to sign a contract. Reliable contractors don't hurry through paperwork, just as they don't rush the job itself. They recognize the importance of timelines and how they affect achieving the best outcomes, whether in roofing or decision-making.

4. Under no circumstances should you ever sign a contract that contains empty spaces. Such spaces can be completed after your signature, committing you to terms that were not previously agreed upon. It is highly recommended to steer clear of any contractor attempting this unethical practice.

5. If you lack full comprehension of a contract, refrain from signing it. It is acceptable to retain the contract and examine it at your own pace prior to signing. A reputable contractor values your comfort during the entire process. Aggressive sales methods and hurried contract requests are red flags. Opt for a contractor who honors your schedule.

6. If a sale is conducted at your home in Illinois, you are entitled to a three-day grace period to cancel the contract. It is important to note that your contractor is prohibited from taking any actions to waive this right. They are not allowed to start any work, transfer your contract to a lender, or engage in any other activities for a period of three days following the agreement.

7.  To ensure that your contractor complies with the law, it is important that any alternate business name they use is either incorporated or registered according to the Assumed Business Name Act. You can verify their legal registration status by contacting the Illinois Secretary of State.

8. To ensure compliance with local regulations, it is essential to contact both your City and County authorities regarding any required building permits or inspections for your upcoming project. A reliable contractor should promptly furnish you with this pertinent information.

Step 2: Understand the Reputation of the Contractor

1. Before signing the contract, it is essential to discuss and secure all guarantees with your contractor. Make sure to have all guarantees documented before any work begins.

2. Check the contractor's insurance to make sure it is suitable for the job they are bidding on. This is essential to protect the project, property, and its integrity in case of unexpected events. Adequate insurance coverage will ensure compensation for any unforeseen circumstances that may arise during the project.

3. Avoid signing a certificate of completion or making the final payment for your project until all the work has been finished to your satisfaction. Refuse to be pressured into signing any documents under any circumstances.

4. It is important for homeowners to be aware of the sources of supplies and labor for roofing and masonry projects carried out on their property. Suppliers and subcontractors are entitled to place liens on your home if the contractor does not compensate them. To prevent this situation, homeowners can request lien waivers from the general contractor.

Step 3: Understanding Contract Lingo to Hold Intelligent Conversations When Negotiating

  1.  Before proceeding with the service you are planning to have done, make sure to acquaint yourself with its fundamentals. By demonstrating knowledge during your interactions with the contractor, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to fraud, with up to 90% prevention.

2. Every agreement needs to include the contractor’s entire name, their full address, and their business contact number. In Illinois, it is required by law that a contractor notifies you of any address modifications that occur from the start to the end of your project.

3. Ensure that the contract thoroughly details all the work encompassed in your project. Verify that it is present and clearly articulated.

4. The agreement should include both the commencement date and the projected completion date of the project. This encompasses the specific day when work will officially begin on your property and the estimated date by which they anticipate finishing.

7. Verify if there is a clause in the contract detailing the termination by either party. In case of cancellation, contractors are entitled to payment for work already done. However, if the contractor doesn't initiate or finish the work within the agreed timeframe, the homeowner has the right to terminate the contract. In such a scenario, the homeowner can request a refund for the down payment and any other payments made, by sending a written demand through certified mail.

Step #4: Understand Fraud & How to Protect Yourself

  1.  Once more, it's crucial to steer clear of overly aggressive door-to-door sales representatives. This is a fundamental principle when engaging with contractors. Keeping this in mind will ensure successful interactions at all times.

2. If you come across a price that seems surprisingly low, it's best to decline the offer from the contractor and move on. It's important to avoid hiring unprofessional individuals for masonry and roofing projects.

3. Avoid contractors who only provide a phone number or a P.O. Box without an address. It raises suspicions when contact details are incomplete, even if it's a personal residence. Transparency is key when choosing who to work with, so it's best to steer clear of those who seem to be hiding information. That's definitely a red flag.

6. Do you frequently use cash to make payments, especially for expensive items? Chances are, like many people nowadays, you rarely, if ever, do so. Thanks to convenient services such as Zelle and PayPal, there is often no need to pay contractors in cash or by check. Requests for cash payments can raise suspicions and signal potential issues with the contractor. Opting for online payment methods ensures transaction records are kept and offers protection against fraud. Therefore, whenever possible, it's advisable to make payments using a credit card or digital platforms.

7.  Under no circumstances should you allow a contractor to pressure you into going to a bank to withdraw funds for payment of your contract. Banking matters are private and it is not appropriate for the contractor to ask this of you. Most trustworthy contractors will accept digital payments such as credit cards, debit cards, Zelle, or PayPal.

Having the checklist we've outlined earlier, you shouldn't have any trouble locating the perfect contractor for your upcoming roofing or masonry project. To save time and effort, feel free to contact (773) 887-6819 and collaborate with Taurus Roofing & Siding, Chicago's premier roofing and masonry contractor.

As mentioned at the start of this article, if you suspect that a contractor has cheated or defrauded you, promptly contact the State’s Attorney or Illinois Attorney General’s Office by using one of the provided phone numbers.

Consumer Fraud Hotlines:

  • Springfield: (800) 243-0618 TTY: (877) 844-5461
  • Chicago: (800) 386-5438 TTY: (800) 964-3013
  • Carbondale: (800) 243-0607

Toll-Free Information Lines:

  • Carbondale: (800) 243-0607
  • Springfield: (800) 243-0618
  • Chicago: (800) 386-5438
  • TTY: (800) 964-3013

Our Service Areas:

  • North Chicago
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For all your roofing needs, including various roof-related services, rely on the reliable team at Taurus Roofing & Siding. They will provide exactly what your roof requires, with transparent pricing, full licensing and insurance, and decades of experience serving Chicago. Don't hesitate to contact them at (773) 887-6819 for the ultimate solution to your roofing issues.

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