''The Travelers'' are back in the Bluegrass

WTVQ "On Your Side"/May 3, 2002
By Tom Kenny

Lexington Kentucky -- Every spring traveling home improvement workers, often-called ''Irish Travelers'' invade the Bluegrass preying on the unsuspecting homeowner, particularly the elderly. The scam artists go door-to-door offering to pave or seal driveways at a cheap price. The Better Business Bureau said their complaint history shows that most homeowners who hire the traveling workers experience shoddy work with substandard materials. Then the victim can't locate the workers for a refund or to repair the job.

The BBB said The Travelers usually show up in unmarked or generically marked trucks with out of state license plates, often from South Carolina. They approach homes claiming they have leftover materials from another job nearby, allowing them to give a "big discount." They usually only have a business with a toll-free phone number, no physical address. No written contract is offered outlining the specifics of the job. They target older residents and people who live alone. They also often work for cash only or demand full payment up front. The BBB said all of those conditions should serve as a warning to consumers that the company probably isn't on the up-and-up.

If you really need home improvement work done the BBB suggested using a reputable local company you can trust. Check out contractors with the BBB or ask for a list of BBB members who do the work you need. Check a company's references, get multiple written estimates. Check to see if the workers are properly licensed and bonded to work on your property. In Fayette County, which includes the city of Lexington, contractors of any kind are required by local ordinance to be registered with the Division of Building Inspection. Ask to see a copy of the license. State law requires all door-to-door contractors or merchants to have an itinerant merchant's license. Ask to see a copy of the license. If a contractor can't produce a license, they may be doing business illegally. The BBB also suggested getting the company's complete name, address and phone number. Never pay 100% up-front, no matter how tempting the price sounds. Beware of any contractor using high pressure or threats.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.