(Hartford, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy urged Connecticut consumers to be safe and savvy when employing contractors to clear their roofs. Governor Malloy suggested consumers contact the Department of Consumer Protection for information about contractors and always get estimates in writing.
"We have several days of good weather forecasted, which will give us an opportunity to clean up and get ahead of maintenance like roof clearing," said Governor Malloy. “We are getting reports of possible price gouging by contractors offering roof snow removal. The best advice is, if possible, to get a price from more than one contractor, and always have the contractor put the price in writing.”
Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell, Jr. echoed the Governor’s advice.
“This isn’t a perfect situation – rooftops need to be cleared quickly – so a traditional contract between the homeowner and the contractor may not be possible. Even so, get out a sheet of paper and write out what the contractor has told you verbally he is going to do – ‘remove all snow and ice from rooftop for one hundred dollars’ for instance – and have the contractor sign the piece of paper,” Farrell urged. “You don’t want the price to start fluctuating once the contractor is on the roof.”
Depending upon the nature of the roof, the homeowner should also specify in writing whether it is only the roof that is to be cleared, or whether ice needs to be removed from gutters as well.
“As critical as it is to get snow off of roofs, residents also want to make sure that their gutters are functioning and clear of ice,” Governor Malloy said. “As we get more mixed precipitation and melting, those gutters have to be functioning or water could flow into homes and cause damage, so while workers are on the roof, this should be done as well.”
Farrell also cautioned Connecticut contractors that reports of price gouging will be investigated and pursued.
“The sky is not the limit on the price that can be charged for roof snow removal," Commissioner Farrell stated. "There has to be a reasonable basis between the size of the roof, the time involved in removing the snow, and a comparable ascertainable hourly rate – such as that for home improvement work – that would normally be charged for similar work under normal circumstances. Every situation will be different, but the test of whether price gouging occurred will be whether the contractor can justify the price using an objective standard.”
Governor Malloy highlighted that insurance coverage is another essential part of hiring a contractor.
“There have been instances of contractors falling off of roofs while doing snow removal – make sure your contractor is insured to do that work, before the work starts and someone gets hurt,” said the Governor.
Everyone removing snow from a roof, homeowner or contractor, should be extremely careful of any kind of above-ground wiring and keep all tools away from power lines.
The Department of Consumer Protection hotline is a toll-free number open during weekday business hours: 800-842-2649.
For Immediate Release: February 6, 2011
Contact: Juliet Manalan