MARCH 2009

In this IssueMarch 2009

  • Home Improvement Scams

Spring is in the air and you are probably thinking about fixing up your house. Before you talk to a home improvement company or a home remodeling company, take some simple precautions to protect yourself and your money.

  • Be wary of a salesman who comes to your home uninvited, especially if he claims he was doing some work for your neighbor or was just in the neighborhood.
  • Ask for references, with names and telephone numbers – nothing drives away a swindler quicker than a request for references.
  • Beware of the low-ball bids or offers that seem too good to be true, because they usually are.
  • Beware of people who ask for a large “deposit” or ask to be paid in full before the work is done.
  • Read everything carefully before you sign it, and make sure you understand all of the terms of the agreement.
  • Never sign a contract with blanks in it.

If you have a complaint about your home improvement project, begin by trying to resolve it with the contractor. Honest mistakes can occur and can be easily corrected. Make sure to follow up with a letter that you send by certified mail and keep a copy for your records. If this approach is unsuccessful, contact your local or state consumer protection office or the Better Business Bureau.

  • Volunteer Work at the Light of Life Mission

Our family went to the Pittsburgh Light of Light Mission on Saturday to do some volunteer work. Mostly I wanted my kids to get into the habit of giving back to the community. Anyone who has teenagers knows what I am getting at. My perception of residents living there was a group of alcoholics or drug addicts waiting to get their next fix and walking around in a daze. Boy was I wrong. Yes, the people there have lifelong addictions, whether alcohol or drugs, but there was real love there. I noticed a lot of laughter among the residents. The residents had a great time kidding around with me, asking whether I washed walls down at work & when was the last time I did any physical work (something about a flabby stomach). They treated my kids great & showed them how to serve lunch to a large number of people.

The residents at the Light of Life Mission call each other brother and sister – brother Tom, sister Mary, brother Ken, etc. I noticed they prayed before doing anything. I started thinking later on that just by calling each other brother and sister, that this simple expression had to have a positive effect on the way they saw that person. We could all learn from that.

If you feel your life is missing something, think about volunteer work at the Light of Life Mission. Their phone number is 412-281-8700 and ask for Bill Rhoades. It was the best feeling I had all week, knowing you’re doing something to help others and giving back to the community.

People sometimes pay a psychologist thousands of dollars over a long time to find out why they are depressed. Want to solve that depression problem immediately? Do Volunteer Work!I think it works because it takes your mind off your personal problems and gets you focused on the problems of others.