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Contractors targeting older women

Contractors targeting older women
Posted at 8:13 AM, May 12, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-12 11:13:14-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Some 10News viewers say there are contractors out there specifically targeting women, overcharging them tens of thousands of dollars for household jobs.

Irene Batho said a contractor tried to scam her on a roof job for her Pacific Beach home. The 92-year-old has lived in the house for 47 years.

Batho recently spoke to a contractor about a leak in her roof, and on the day he showed up, she brought along her niece for help.

Lilla Hangay, Batho's niece, said the contractor was pushy and pressuring them. Hangay told 10News the man wouldn't leave without a signature for a job that he quoted as around $27,000.

"He was just going on and on, and on and on," Hangay said. "He got us as far as signing the contract, which was really wild. He stayed almost three hours; he worked that long on us."

As it turns out, a roof the size of the one on Batho's home should only cost around $17,000 to fix. Both women were upset about the major price difference.

Longtime San Diego realtor Gary Kent helped the women find three more contractors with fair prices.

"I'll run across somebody that's paid 50 to 100 percent more than they should have for something," Kent said. "This just doesn't tend to happen with someone who's in their 30s or 40s; it's usually an older person."

Kent has seen it happen dozens of times, from $15,000 to change a heater to $12,000 too much on windows.

"I was angry, you know, frustrated," Batho said.

HOW TO AVOID UNFAIR PRICING

Kent said to avoid upcharges, always get multiple bids.

"Get more than one estimate and also don't make a decision based on you liking the sales person. 'Oh, he was a nice young man so I went ahead and said yes,'" Kent said. "Don't do that."

Thankfully, Batho and Hangay took the advice and called three more contractors before it was too late.

"They were all $10,000 ? I mean, exactly $10,000 cheaper," Hangay said. "So then I knew OK, we were ripped off badly."

Another way to not get scammed might seem simple, but if you really have no idea how much a job should cost, try calling a friend or family member to see if they can help.