Storm Chasers, Scammers and Fraud
As families across Connecticut recover from the wreckage left behind by Tropical Storm Isaias, residents should be cautious when hiring contractors for repairs. Unfortunately, too often storms like these bring scammers who target families at their most vulnerable times. Damage to homes can be costly to repair, and those repairs often need to happen quickly.
Make sure you are working with a legitimate contractor before paying money to the wrong person. Ask for a current copy of the contractor's worker’s compensation and liability insurance policies and verify that they are active. While this insurance is not legally required, if your contractor is adequately insured, you and your insurance are less likely to be impacted if a worker is injured on your property.
Avoid doing business with someone who:
- Requires that you pay in cash, by wire transfer, or in any form of untraceable payment;
- Refuses to offer you a contract in writing (contracts are required by law in the State of Connecticut);
- Offers you an incredibly low cost for work that needs to be completed, under the condition that you commit immediately;
- Knocks on your door, or otherwise solicits business specifically from you (instead of you going to them);
- Doesn’t provide references; and
- Will not provide proof of their credentials.
Before you commit to a contractor, you should:
- Ensure that a contractor has the appropriate credentials for the work they’re performing by visiting the Department of Consumer Protection at www.elicense.ct.gov;
- If someone is making changes to your home, they must have a home improvement contractor registration.
- If someone is conducting tree trimming or related work, they must have an Arborist License through the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP).
- Check references, and specifically request references from those who have had work done similar to what you need done. (For example, if you need your windows replaced, get a reference from someone who has also had their windows replaced);
- Get quotes from multiple contractors;
- Make sure you have a written contract, read it in its entirety, and ask any questions you may have before signing; and
- Be prepared to pay in a traceable form like check, or credit card.
Consumers with complaints about home improvement may file a complaint with DCP by emailing detailed information including receipts, contracts, and any descriptions or documentation of conversations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Insurance Department’s Consumer Affairs Division is available to assist policyholders with answers to their insurance questions by