Home Contractor Horror Stories (and how you can avoid them)

Sometimes real life is scarier than the movies… like when you are looking for a Home Remodel Contractor in Lancaster, PA, but have no idea who to call. All we hear are stories, like the ones below, about contractors ripping people off and walking off with sometimes 6 figures of hard earned money. Some reports say upwards of $2 Billion a year is taking from people in Contractor Fraud. And that doesn’t include the ones that perform shoddy work that needs to be redone by a professional remodeler within a few months… or the value of the home will significantly drop.

Our tips: Do your research! Ask for references and registration info and check for ratings online. Throw price aside, you get what you pay for – select the remodeler who you feel comfortable working with. They will be in your home day after day.


NC Home Contractor Accused of Fraud:

Home Improvement Scams: Unlicensed Contractors:



Excerpt from “A Contractor Horror Story? Join the Crowd” from NYTimes.com.

ALL she wanted was a nice fence around her backyard. Danielle O’Connell was planning a 2-year-old birthday party for her daughter at the family’s Elmsford home and wanted the 18 toddlers safely fenced in.

Mrs. O’Connell and her husband got several estimates but were discouraged by the cost and how long it would take to finish. All the contractors who bid told them the fence would cost at least $5,000 and take four to six weeks to put up.

Then the O’Connells got lucky — at least they thought they did. The couple found a contractor in the Yellow Pages who promised to build the fence for $2,000 and to do it in a week. “We were like, ‘Thank God we found this guy,’ ” Mrs. O’Connell said. “We’re thinking, ‘This is fantastic — those other people were going to rip us off.’ ”

There was a rip-off involved, of course, but it was by the low bidder, not the other contractors. After pressuring Mrs. O’Connell to give him a $1,000 deposit for construction material quickly, he disappeared. He never showed up to build the fence, nor did he answer the phone calls Mrs. O’Connell made as the weeks dragged on.

The O’Connells later found out that he is suspected of bilking at least 11 others out of their money, too.
Excerpt from “Learn from Other People’s Contractor Horror Stories” from NewsChannel5.com.

Jason Brooks is another former customer of Carlton’s.

Brooks paid him $50,000 to build an addition for his in-laws.

As he walks around the half-finished project, he points out different areas where there are problems. Much of Carlton did, Brooks tells NewsChannel 5 Investigates, failed inspection. And then, he says, Carlton vanished and wouldn’t return calls.

“He’s turned what was supposed to be a dream project into a complete nightmare,” Brooks shares.

But perhaps what is most surprising is that Carlton knows what he’s doing is wrong.

Our investigation found that he’s been arrested repeatedly for working as a contractor without a professional license. We also found that he’s ignored repeated orders by the state to stop working until he gets a license.

And, get this. He’s even used someone else’s license, claiming it was his.

Jason Brooks believes, “He doesn’t care. That’s the thing. He doesn’t care about this. He doesn’t respect the law.”

Gene Spitzer adds, “We just thought cause he was a minister, he would be a decent human being.”

Tips on choosing the RIGHT home remodeling contractor:

Tips from the BBB: Hiring a Contractor – Do you know the Red Flags?:

PA State Rep Joseph Preston, Jr: “Check for Home Contractor Registration”:


When it’s time for your Lancaster County, PA renovations – Trust MBC:

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