Flooding, Snow or Ice Damage? Important Advice for Consumers Needing Home Repairs
"Even though you may be in a hurry to get repairs done, make sure that your contractor is fully registered or licensed as needed to do the work," Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said today. “Any time severe conditions cause damage to homes, you can count on unqualified and fly-by night workers to go around offering immediate services in return for hefty cash down payments.”
Consumers who fall for these offers are often left with unfinished or inferior work, Rubenstein said. The best way to protect your biggest investment, your home is to take some time to research and choose a contractor who has all of the qualifications, skills, and track record to do the job right the first time.
· Most important, make sure the person or business is registered as a home improvement contractor in
· Ask friends and family members for names of established contractors they have used and who did a good job at a fair price.
· Get all details of the offer in writing and carefully review it. Be sure you understand everything in the contract and that any verbal promises are included in the contract. There is a three-day cancellation period on home improvement contracts.
· Check with your building inspector as to whether any building permits are needed, and be sure these are acquired before the work begins.
· Ask for references and contact each one.
· Remember that any legitimate company that wants your business will be willing to allow you time to do your homework. Don't fall prey to high-pressure tactics.
· Never pay cash! Agree to a pay schedule that allows you to pay some upfront, some mid-way and some at the end when you’re fully satisfied.
Steer clear of contractors who come to your door unsolicited, use high-pressure sales tactics or request a large down-payment or full payment up-front. A contractor who gives you just a post office box as a business address should be fully checked out, along with anyone who offers work far less costly than anyone else you’ve called. Finally, the persons who drop by to say they just finished work nearby and are ready to work on your home today -- are best avoided.
The Department of Consumer Protection regulates home improvement and new home construction in