Sheriff’s Office: Beware of contractor scams

Published 8:00 am Friday, July 10, 2015

Officers with the Cass County Sheriff’s Office are asking residents to be vigilant of possible contractor scams after their office received a possible fraud complaint in LaGrange Township, according to a news release from the department.

According to the release, a Cass County resident on Dunning Street told police that she paid some individuals from Pete Sherlock Painting, out of North Augusta, South Carolina, over $2,000 to repair the roof on her barn. She said the group had performed some superficial work and took the check without completing the job, and have since been avoiding her attempts to contact them.

Investigation into the issue provided some information about prior complaints against this organization in numerous states throughout the United States. According to the release, it is believed that this company may be part of an Irish traveler group the travels from area to area taking money up front and doing work that is less then satisfactory to the paying customer.  It is also believed this group is staying in hotels near the Michigan/Indiana state line and may be soliciting more work in this area.

The sheriff’s office gives the following advice to residents:

• Consumers are cautioned to not pay for services up front.

• Do not make payment until the work is completed to your satisfaction.

• Have contractors sign a written contract and keep a copy of the contract with names, driver’s license info, addresses and phone numbers.

• Do an internet check on the company, check with the better business bureau, and when possible get contact info to investigate the company and call them back to do the work at a later time.

• High pressure, immediate sales techniques are part of how these scam artists work and should be a red flag for any door-to-door sales pitch. If they can’t come back to do the job then they didn’t want the work very badly and this should be a warning sign.