Beware of Chinese Drywall “Remediation” Scams
Scott KappesAugust 09, 2010 2:23 PM
The remediation of problem Chinese drywall is a multi-million dollar market, and whenever there is money to be made you can be sure that there is someone body out there trying to pull off a scam to get their piece of the prize.
In Florida there have been numerous reports Chinese drywall victims being scammed by opportunistic “remediators.” These tricksters have been reportedly offering everything from diagnosis to air clean machines and drywall removal.
Homeowners affected by Chinese drywall are often in search of anything that can help rid their homes of the horrible symptom caused by the problem drywall and can be vulnerable to con articts who prey on the people who are vulnerable due to their desperation and concern for the well being of their family.
Thousands of homeowners is Florida and throughout the south east portion of the United States are living in homes built with defective and tainted drywall that was imported from China to meet housing demands.
The CPSC has said that only viable remedy available to homeowners affected by Chinese drywall is to remove all of the problem drywall from the home and replace it with safe American made drywall.
The Palm Beach Post recently published an article on the subject of Chinese drywall remediation scams in which they identified 47 remediation and inspection companies working in the Palm Beach area. Of these, 26 were created during or after January of 2009 and only 18 were operated by licensed contractors.
Licensed contractors are required to demonstrate knowledge, under-go credit and background checks, and provide proof of insurance; however, those who identify themselves as “drywall remediators” are not required to have any form of certification under Florida law and are therefore conducting business in an unregulated arena.
"It has all the ingredients for a major league rip-off when you have little government involvement, you have uncertain science, you have no laws on the books, and you have desperate homeowners who are willing to try anything to keep their dream home," said state Sen. Dave Aronberg, D-Greenacres, who filed an unsuccessful bill this past legislative session that would have required state oversight for remediation companies. "You have snake oil salesmen out there trying to make their pitch along with reputable business people, and it's up to the consumer to sort out which is which."
If your home contains Chinese drywall it is important to carefully evaluate the companies that you use to make repairs. Be sure to check credentials and look for certifications and licenses issued by the state or other regulatory bodies to ensure the company is reputable.
Most of all homeowners should just excersise caution and be aware that scams out there. Companies offering rates or estimates that are not on par with others should trigger red flags and should be a catalyst for further investigation. As always homeowners should remember that if something seems too good to be true it true it often is.