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Defend yourself from home repair fraud | Business

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Defend yourself from home repair fraud
Defend yourself from home repair fraud

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. --  The National Center for the Prevention of Home Improvement Fraud (NCPHIF) is coming to Little Rock, Arkansas where they will hold a free "SmartPower" workshop on "How to Protect Yourself From Home Improvement/Home Repair Contractor Fraud." The workshop will be held Thursday, June 2, 2011, from 6-8 pm, at the North Little Rock Community Center, 2700 Willow Street, 72114.

The free 2-hour workshop is open to the public and will help educate disaster/storm victims and other homeowners on how to become their own quality control managers, when undergoing a home improvement or repair project, regardless of where they are in the process. 

"Disaster/storm victims are especially vulnerable to contractor fraud," says Phae Howard, Executive Director of NCPHIF. "After a disaster hits, predatory contractors take advantage of stressed-out and uninformed homeowners, making them victims twice.

"They also prey on seniors, first time homebuyers, women, the physically impaired, and those who speak English as a second language," she says.  "However, we get lots of calls from people who thought they were smarter than the contractor.  They call us after they have been taken advantage of and want to know when we’re having our next workshop." 

NCPHIF believes that the only way to prevent contractor scams is through education. SmartPower workshops empower homeowners with the information they need to be “smart” about undertaking a project and working with a home improvement or home repair contractor.  Workshops are led by subject matter experts who will help homeowners navigate through the process.  Topics to be discussed include: what to do before a project, during a project and after a project, valuable do’s and don’ts around hiring a contractor, building permits, executing a contract, lien releases, typical scams, greenwashing (green fraud), insurance protection, conflict resolution, payment schedules, and a whole lot more.

"The importance of SmartPower workshops cannot be overstated.  In this area, in this storm season, it is not only critical, it is urgent," says Howard.  "Homeowners need a great deal of information about what to do and what not to do when it comes to home repair, to avoid becoming victims of contractor fraud."

Workshop speakers typically include police officers, attorneys, insurance specialists, building and zoning experts, FEMA disaster inspectors, and energy efficiency experts, investigative reporters, among others.