Sheriff warns about contractor scam, offers tips

Sheriff warns about contractor scam, offers tips

POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 11:00am

UPDATED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 11:04am

Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards reports that the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, in a joint effort, is investigating several cases regarding contractor fraud which has touched lives of many homeowners from Texas to the Southeast Region of Louisiana.

The contracting group, going by the names of “Parish Road Construction” and/or “Barbers and Bros.” is scamming residents in a multi-state area by offering inexpensive construction opportunities and offering to pave driveway’s at a discounted rate. All of the company vehicles are unmarked and the license plates have been removed.

Operators of the business are going by the names of: Billy Densmore, Alvin Edwards, Derrick Johnson, Jose Ramirez, Amilia Densmore and two juveniles have also been identified.

All of the company vehicles are unmarked and the license plates have been removed. This group of individuals have been known to target and take advantage of the elderly community, use used and ineffective materials on the job and have aggressively bullied the homeowner for additional funds.

Anyone having been a victim of such a crime is asked to please contact Crime Stoppers at 800.554.5245.

Hints to choosing a contractor:

Never sign an agreement with a contractor that shows up to your door without your specific invitation. If you didn’t call him, you probably don’t need him. If you suspect there is a problem, ask friends and family for recommendations on contractors that they have been pleased with.

Always be sure to get at least three estimates on work to be done. If there is a wide discrepancy, ask each to justify their prices.

Be sure to compare apples to apples
Check the contractor’s license
Check insurance including worker’s compensation
Check with Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Check references
Make sure that everything that you have verbally agreed to is in the contract

Take the money and run

7. These contractor swindles are quite prevalent and yet it’s so easy to stay out of their way. Merchants who have been in business and want to stay in business seldom run these scams. It usually starts with a knock at the door by someone claiming to be a contractor who is doing work in the neighborhood and willing to work quickly and cheaply.

8. The scam comes when he claims to need money to go out and pick up the supplies but will be right back. He even says that he doesn’t want complete payment until after the job is completed.

9. The problem? He never comes back with supplies. Occasionally, these guys even start some demolition work before they leave, but once the money is in hand, they’re gone. Not only are you out the money, but they’ve often left damaged property behind which may cost more to repair than the original job would have.

10. Avoiding these scams is easy. If you need work done, call a legitimate contractor instead of trying to save a few dollars. Make sure that you get a written estimate or proposal and make sure that you fully understand the terms before you agree to anything.

11. Never make payment until the job is complete.

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