As the season for home repairs and construction is underway, the Calgary Police Service Economic Crimes Unit is asking citizens to be diligent when hiring contractors.
Since the beginning of May 2015, there have been six frauds reported involving contractor services. In total, there have been 10 cases of contractor fraud so far this year.
Investigators would like to provide these tips to the public when hiring contractors:
- Ensure you are dealing with an approved contracting company that is properly licensed and insured. The Better Business Bureau and The City of Calgary’s new online business licence database (www.calgary.ca/contractors) are useful resources.
- Ask whether the contractor carries liability insurance. It is not required by law, but if a company does not have this, any damage to property resulting from the renovation may not be covered by the company you have hired.
- Ask for, and contact, references.
- Have the contractor sign a written contract that includes a start date, completion date, full details of the work and materials, and the complete cost.
- Be cautious about paying for work or supplies before the work has been completed or the supplies have been delivered.
- Be cautious of upfront deposits as only contractors who have a Pre-Paid Contractor’s Licence from Service Alberta can ask for a deposit. You can check for these licences by calling 1-877-427-4088.
Anyone who suspects they may be the victim of contractor fraud is encouraged to contact the police at the non-emergency number at 403-266-1234.