Shield Yourself From These 6 Electrician Scams

Rochel Maday
Written by Rochel Maday
Updated November 18, 2021
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These 6 tips will help you find an electrician who lights up your life

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Most electricians are honest and hardworking. They love their craft and enjoy helping their clients with electrical projects that make life more illuminating. But unfortunately, electrician scams aren’t unheard of. On the bright side (pun intended), most electrician scams are easy to spot once you know the red flags. A lightbulb should go off in your head (sorry, we had to) if you come across any of these sketchy behaviors.

6 Electrician Scam Red Flags To Watch Out For

1. They Overwhelm You With Jargon

Finding a great electrician is key, and you know you’ve found a good one when they want to educate you on the basics of your project. If you come across an electrician who’s throwing every term in the electrician lingo book at you, along with multiple numbers and timelines, you’ll definitely want to get a second (and even third) quote. This type of scam relies on overwhelming the customer with intimidating jargon and worry, followed by pressure to sign a contract without getting another electrician’s input.

2. They Recommend Over-the-Top Upgrades

You’re having an electrician quote you on a new outlet for your office when suddenly he’s walking you through how he’ll rewire your entire home at a discounted price. All homes, whether new construction or resales, go through rigorous inspections. It’s unlikely that your home needs extensive electrical work without your knowledge. An electrician who won’t stick to the original project could be trying to scam you for additional yet unwarranted work.

3. They Demand Full Payment Upfront

Any professional, including an electrician, who asks for 100% of their payment upfront may be a scammer. An electrician who wants to appear professional and trustworthy will work out a payment plan that allows them to secure materials and labor without asking you to risk your project’s completion.

4. They Only Communicate via Email

When working with an electrician, you want to make sure you have all their contact information, including their email address, phone number and business address. Communicating through email may be convenient for non-time-sensitive issues, but it’s not helpful if you need to visit your electrician's office or connect about urgent matters. If their email sign-off has an address and phone number, make sure to verify them to avoid this scam.

5. They Quote You an Unusually Low Bid

In an effort to get you to quickly sign a contract based solely on price, an electrician running this scam will quote you a suspiciously low price for the electrical work. Take heed—if the price sounds too good to be true, it probably is, and the electrician may have no intention of doing the project. Instead, they’ll take your down payment and head for the hills.

6. They’re Not Licensed or Insured

To avoid most types of electrician scams, never work with a professional who isn’t licensed. Electrician license requirements vary by state, so check out what your local jurisdiction requires before choosing an electrician.

Never work with an electrician who doesn’t carry general liability insurance. Also, make sure you verify their coverage with their insurance provider.

Keep in mind that a professional contractor will never have an issue confirming their credentials, license, or insurance.

Questions to Ask Your Electrician

Once you’ve confirmed that your electrician is licensed and insured, and there are no obvious red flags that they’re a scammer, consider asking them the following questions for additional clarity.

What’s Your Specialty?

Not all electricians take on all types of jobs. Some focus mainly on commercial work, while others work on residential projects. Some have very niche specialties, like solar panel installation or home automation. Make sure your potential contractor has experience with your specific project.

Who Will Be Working on the Project?

Some electricians provide a quote but then subcontract the work once a contract is signed, leaving your project in the hands of a potentially unqualified electrician. Confirm that the electrician quoting you is the pro who will complete the work from start to finish.

Do You Offer a Guarantee?

It’s rare for electrical work to be guaranteed forever, but the longer a warranty or guarantee, the more you can trust the pro’s performance.

What Permits Do I Need and Who Will Get Them?

Most types of electrical projects require a permit. It’s always ideal for the contractor to pull a permit. Never work with a contractor who wants to skirt around permits.

What to Look for in a Contract

Not all electricians use the same contract format,but there are some basic points to look for when moving forward with a project. Don’t sign a contract unless it includes:

  • Clearly and precisely outlined job requirements

  • All costs broken down by labor and materials

  • A detailed timeline with key dates (like start and completion, payments, checkpoints, and estimated completion dates)

  • Contact information for all parties involved

  • Signatures from all parties

Finding the Right Electrician

Most electrical contractors are professional and ethical, but to ensure your electrical project ends on a bright note, get quotes from at least three pros. Look out for red flags and make sure they’re licensed and insured. Ask them several questions to validate their experience and professionalism. Finally, examine the contract before signing.

If you’re ready to find an electrician for your next big project, search Angi. We vet electrical contractors near you so you can get a head start on the selection process.

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