Better Business Bureau urges consumers to use caution with local contractor

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Better Business Bureau Serving Central East Texas has issued a warning to consumers about a Longview-based remodeling company.

PRISTINExteriors is a remodeling company which specializes in decorative concrete, decks, pergolas, fireplaces and pool decks. Owners James Ryan and Heather Gaston are also affiliated with Classy Crete, based in Allen, Texas which has a similar complaint record.

PRISTINExteriors currently has an ‘F’ rating, which is the lowest rating on BBB’s scale.

BBB has received 10 complaints from consumers in Texas and Louisiana, whose average financial losses were approximately $6,000. Reports from these consumers claim that the business will begin work on the project after a deposit is made, but fails to complete the work and leaves customers in the dark by not returning phone calls.

“An increasing number of consumers have been making home improvements. It’s more important than ever to do your research before choosing a business, particularly when on big-ticket items or projects.”

President and CEO of BBB Serving Central East Texas, Mechele Agbayani Mills

To ensure that something like this doesn’t happen to you, BBB has provided tips to consider when hiring someone to work on your home:

Research and gather information. Search for a contractor’s Business Profile at BBB.org for free information on their history of complaints, read verified Customer Reviews, and see if they are an Accredited Business. BBB Accredited Businesses make a commitment to uphold BBB’s accreditation standards including: to build trust, advertise honestly, tell the truth, be transparent, honor their promises, be responsive to their customers, safeguard privacy and embody integrity.

Also search for the name of the company online along with “Complaint”, “Review” or “Scam” to find different results. Ask the company if employees and sub-contractors undergo a background check. Are they trained and certified? What identification will they show when they come to your home?

Ask for references. Ask the contractor for a list of recent local references you may contact. Ask the references about the services performed and their overall experience with the contractor and the quality of the work. Ask if the contractor stuck to the estimated budget and completion date for the project.

If possible, inspect the contractor’s work yourself. Ask if the contractor is a member of a professional association that has standards or a code of ethics.

Get multiple quotes. You should always shop around and get at least three quotes from different businesses. Make sure all bids consider the same set of criteria. Remember that the lowest bid may not necessarily be the best bid; if one bid is significantly lower than the others, the contractor may be cutting corners or may not understand your work requirements.

Get it in writing. Always get estimates in writing and never let any work begin without a written and signed contract. Do not be pressured into signing an agreement before you are ready and make sure you read and understand everything before signing.

The contract should include contact information, start and complete dates, a detailed description of the exact work to be done, any material costs, payment arrangements, and warranty information. Specify who is to obtain necessary building permits and who is responsible for clean-up.

Make sure all verbal promises are included in the contract. Ask how much work will be subcontracted and ask for information on the subcontractors. Ask questions if you do not understand any part of the contract. Never sign an incomplete or partially blank contract.

Verify license and insurance. Always be sure that the company you decide to work with has the necessary licenses and insurance to work in your region.

Confirm building permits. Your contractor must have the correct permits before starting your project. They will usually obtain the permits, but you will likely pay for them. That should be detailed in your contract. Request that all final inspections be completed by the local building official prior to final payment.

Think about future service issues. Make sure you are aware of your warranty coverage and how to deal with service issues.

Arrange a payment schedule. Never pay in full up front. Stagger your payments so your final payment is not due until the work is complete and you have fully inspected it. Do not pay cash; make sure your check is written to a company, not an individual, or that you use a credit card.

Paying with a credit card will provide some recourse should the job not be completed as stated in the contract.

Get a receipt. Request a receipt marked “Paid in Full” when the job is completed and your final payment made.

Keep your contract. Hold on to your contract for future reference or if any questions arise after the work is complete.

For more tips on how to be a savvy consumer, go to bbb.org. To report fraudulent activity or unscrupulous business practices, call the BBB at 903-581-5704 or report it via BBB ScamTracker.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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