As someone in the market for a new construction home or renovations, you’re likely well aware that there is a wide range of materials available for any building project — with a wide range of price tags.
You may be able to tell if inferior materials were used in visible areas — like countertops, tile and fixtures — but you may not be able to spot inferior products that are beneath the surface until problems develop with your building.
What types of bait and switch tactics do contractors employ?
Some unscrupulous contractors will sell you products with a higher value then use inferior, less expensive ones to complete the project, instead. This is called a bait and switch tactic.
A contractor should notify you if the products you planned for them to use become unavailable. They should check to see if you have any alternate materials you’d like them to use before substituting them with another. Your contractor should also refund you the difference if they do use less expensive or poor quality products than the ones that you originally requested.
How can you avoid falling victim to bait and switch tactics?
You can minimize your chances of having a construction company take advantage of you by verifying the professional license, references and asking for proof of insurance before hiring a contractor.
Combing through any contract before signing it to see what it says about your contractor’s ability to trade out building materials and whether they have to reach out to you before doing so. You may find it reassuring to request photographs or receipts and to periodically pop in to check on the building’s progress as well.
Proving that your contractor engaged in bait and switch tactics
Having a suspicion that your contractor exchanged your higher-end materials for inferior ones is one thing. Being able to prove that they did is another. You may want to apprise yourself of what goes into proving a breach of contract before deciding whether filing such a claim is warranted in your case.