BBB Warns of the Return of Questionable Home Repair Funding Offers
(Plain Press, May 2006) “Attention Senior Citizen Homeowners. There is a home repair program available to you.”
“You Maybe Be Eligible for a Federally Insured Loan to Repair your Home”
“Important Notice to Homeowners! We are Accepting Applications in Your Neighborhood Now!
The Greater Cleveland Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning area homeowners to be skeptical of flyers that contain these, or similar, claims offering special funding programs for home repairs. They appear every spring, often using official-sounding return addresses (e.g. Neighborhood Renovation Program) or cleverly worded references to the government. An example that recently came to the Bureau’s attention uses the American Flag and lists the website for the U. S. Treasury below a prominent notice about funding programs that are “…now available to help you… with home repairs and debt consolidation”. Others target senior citizens with promises of government guaranteed loans.
Don’t be fooled. Home improvement contractors distribute these fliers hoping to attract homeowners who are looking for home repair funding assistance. References to special funding, time limited offers and eligibility can be misleading.
Before signing any contracts for repairs or signing any loan paperwork, the BBB advises homeowners to:
• Get the company’s name, address and telephone number and check its record with the Better Business Bureau.
• Ask for specific details for any claims of special funding programs. If the contractor suggests it is a government-funded loan, get the name of the agency involved and check directly with that agency.
• Check with your county office and/or city hall for information concerning your eligibility for low interest loans. For example, homeowners in many communities in Cuyahoga County are eligible for the Housing Enhancement Loan Program (HELP).
• Get more than one estimate for repairs. The BBB can provide lists of BBB members.
• If you need to have repairs financed, don’t necessarily use the lender or broker recommended by the contractor. Shop around for the best financing terms.
The Better Business Bureau since 1913 has advocated ethical, responsible conduct in the marketplace. Through the support of business members sharing its goals and standards, the BBB programs promote informed buying and giving decisions, truthful advertising and selling practices, and the resolution of marketplace disputes. The Cleveland Better Business Bureau can be reached at 241-7678 or online at www.ClevelandBBB.org.
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