An alarming trend of renovation scams is emerging as victims come forward to reveal contractors who have been defrauding unsuspecting individuals.
The typical modus operandi involves contractors showcasing enticing renovation projects on their social media profiles, attracting victims seeking quotations to realize their home improvement dreams. However, problems arise after payments are made and work commences.
During a press conference, four victims claimed they were scammed by the same contractor they discovered on Instagram. One victim, Farah Nabila Zainudin, hired the contractor for a full home renovation and paid nearly RM108,400. The work progressed slowly, with numerous errors, ultimately costing her an additional RM150,000 to rectify.
Ahassolehin Ahadlin, another victim, hired the same contractor to renovate his shop. The renovation began but abruptly halted two months later, despite having paid almost RM30,000.
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok, who hosted the press conference, noted that she had handled similar renovation scam cases before, involving multiple contractors using comparable tactics.
Oliver Wee Hiang Chyn, President of the Master Builders Association Malaysia, advised homeowners to verify the legitimacy of contractors through the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Act 520. He emphasized the importance of having written agreements in case of disputes, suggesting that such agreements should outline clear terms and conditions understood by both parties.
Kok also highlighted the difficulty in taking action against scammers, as there were no formal agreements for investigations. She suggested the introduction of a document similar to a sales and purchase agreement (SPA) to protect both homeowners and contractors in renovation projects.
This rising trend underscores the need for caution when selecting renovation contractors and the importance of proper documentation to safeguard against scams.