A surety bond is a three-party agreement that guarantees that the first party--the business or contractor--will fulfill its obligations to a second party--the customer--and that the third party--the surety bond issuer--will pay the second party if the first party does not fulfill its obligation. Knowing that a business is bonded to a consumer is important because, if the contractor or business does not complete the task, or if the customer’s property is damaged or stolen during the contractor’s work period, the customer can make a claim against the business and might be paid for his loss. The Better Business Bureau recommends that consumers ask contractors or businesses whether they are insured and bonded, if the consumers are considering hiring them for work in their home.
Screen the businesses from which you want to buy products or services. Read about their products, services and search their websites for contact information, service description, and frequently asked questions. Some businesses might mention in their advertisement, business cards or website that they are insured and bonded.
Ask for documentation to verify that the business is bonded. Speak with the business or contractor you plan to use and request its surety bond information; for example, request the bond number and the company it is using for surety bonding services. According to the Surety & Fidelity Association of America, to verify a surety bond, an inquiry should include the name and address of the surety bond issuer, the bond number, the name and address of the bond holder, the amount of the performance bond, the amount of payment bond, and the date the bond took effect.
Verify the bond information by communicating with the bond issuer, using the information provided by the contractor or the business. The bond issuer's contact number should be on its website. Also check with your state insurance department, and on the Surety & Fidelity Association of America website, which provides a list of surety companies. According to the Better Business Bureau, you should check to see whether the business bond complies with your county, city and state laws and regulations.
The Better Business Bureau in Canada and the United States supports and promotes good business relationships between business owners and customers. The BBB also provides resources for consumers who are researching businesses, who are looking for information about the business, or who want to learn whether the business has been responsive to any complaints filed with the BBB.
For online businesses or merchants, look for the buySAFE seal or the Better Business Bureau, Accredited Business logo on the seller's item, profile and website.
Do not hire a contractor who is not bonded. You would have no protection if the job were not properly done or were not completed according to the contract or agreement. Also there would be less protection if an unbonded contractor stole anything from your home.
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