How to Avoid Getting Cheated in Renovation Scams -

Singapore Renovation Blog

How to Avoid Getting Cheated in Renovation Scams

Posted on 16 March, 2016

Homeowners would like to believe that every renovation contractor can be trusted and would provide their customers with the highest quality service possible, but unfortunately this is not the case in sometimes.

In reality, there will always be a small handful of black sheeps in Singapore’s renovation industry that are simply out to scam unsuspecting clients, without delivering on their promises.

In many of such cases, these dishonest renovation contractors simply take a deposit but never begin the work or sometimes perform shoddy work at extravagant prices.

There are plenty of tell-tale signs that shady renovation contractors may not be what they claim to be. Taking the time to evaluate these warning signs can save you from getting cheated by renovation scammers.

There are also tools available to help you find high quality renovators, so you can be assured that you are putting your faith and trust in accredited and trustworthy renovation contractors in Singapore.


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Because renovation scams could happen to unsuspecting homeowners, it could be prove challenging sometimes to make sure that everything is in order when you first meet a renovation contractor for your project.

Often times, scammers will advertise extremely low price or too good to be true offers that appeals to homeowners looking for bargains. Start early and be prepared to spend some time doing your research in order to find trustworthy sources.

Instead of trying to get a quote over the phone, use a website that allows you to get sales quotes from reliable renovation contractors in Singapore, so that you can make fair comparisons side by side.

In many cases, renovation contractors and their sub-contractors will be working at your property unsupervised, so you will need to do regular on-site visits and follow work progress closely. There have been cases where less than credible contractors made off with items in a job site.

Make sure you are working with a renovation contractor that pays attention to who they hire in their team and check frequently to ensure that all is well at the job site. Try to stick around as much as possible during renovations to keep an eye on things as well. This can help prevent people taking a four hour lunch break.


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Get information from a variety of resources such as CASE Trust, RADAC (Renovation and Decoration Advisory Centre), HDB or ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority). Some renovation contractors do not work with the same teams for every project, which can make the quality of their work inconsistent.

Don’t just trust the sources your contractor provides you when you meet up. A simple internet search of a contractor’s name or company reviews can often reveal information such as court cases or warnings from other customers that can prevent you from scammers or dishonest companies.

All members of the teams should also be licensed and properly trained. You should be able to see these records for yourself, and your contractor should be willing to produce them for you if you ask.

Check for a permanent place of business. If a contractor does not have an office with a phone number and mailing address this should be a serious red flag. You need to know where you can reach them and send any necessary correspondence.

Contractors for home renovation projects are expected to keep proper paperwork for each project including budget items, receipts, work schedules and contracts. Much of this paperwork contains personal information, so you want to make sure that the company keeps them in a secure location.


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If you are unsure which renovation contractor to choose, there are a few more steps you can take to make sure.

In general, you get what you pay for. A renovation contractor who promises to finish your project at a very low price is probably lying or cutting corners on their work. Either way you end up losing big time if the company winds up suddenly or if things go awry.

Always pay progressively instead of  a big sum of money up front. If your contractor will only be paid for completed tasks, this will give them more incentive to get things done more quickly. However, do not demand an unreasonable timelines because your contractor might take shortcuts to meet these deadlines, which will ultimately damage the quality.

If your contractor insists on a very large deposit up front, walk away and find another one. This is NOT the market practice in Singapore. You should not be required to pay more than 30 percent of the total price of the project. Down payments are usually to purchase materials initially and to kick start work. Get a clear idea about where the money will be going so you can keep track of milestones.

One key aspect of renovation scams is when the contractor insists on cash payment. The company should always provide you a clear and concise contract that outlines what is to be paid, for what type of work or a breakdown of the work items. This gives you a great deal of protection if something happens to go wrong.

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