Department of Consumer Protection Offers Consumer Advice in Advance of Severe Weather
HARTFORD, October 26 -- Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein is encouraging consumers to remember “safety first” as Hurricane Sandy begins its approach up the Eastern Seaboard this weekend.
“No matter the weather, New Englanders like to be well-prepared,” Protection Commissioner William M. Rubenstein said. “In addition to all the necessary measures for protecting families and property, consumers also want to take steps to assure the safety of their food and medications, and avoid home improvement scammers.”
Depending on the nature of the storm, residents may find themselves without power, or may suffer damage to their homes and property. If that happens, Rubenstein says, a few reminders are in order:
- If the power goes out, consume perishable food and beverages as soon as possible
- Keep the freezer and refrigerator doors closed as much as possible to conserve the chill.
- Great resources to print and review now:
MEDICATION AND HOME-DELIVERED MEDICAL SUPPLIES
- Loss of electricity could affect certain medications.
- Items that require refrigeration should not be relied upon for full effectiveness and potency if they were not maintained at the temperature recommended by the manufacturer. Due to potency loss, replace affected medicines when possible.
- Anyone having questions about the safety or storage of any medication should contact their pharmacist.
- Persons who depend on medical supply deliveries and plan to temporarily stay at another address – with a neighbor, family member or at a shelter – should notify their medical supply providers to have their supplies delivered to the temporary location with no lapse in their care.
CONTRACTORS for CLEANUP AND REPAIRS
- Don’t hire contractors who go door-to-door, who call, or who post notices on bulletin boards or online before checking them out thoroughly.
- Do verify the registration, insurance, and if appropriate, the professional license of any worker before agreeing to let them work on your property.
- All home improvement contractors -- including persons who install and repair gutters, roofs, fences, siding, insulation, windows, masonry and underground fuel storage tanks -- must be registered with the Department of Consumer Protection. In addition, plumbers, heating and ventilation workers, sheet metal workers, electricians and many other professionals require a current Connecticut professional license in order to practice their craft.
- Contracts are required for most jobs over $200, and no matter how urgent the situation, consumers are advised to get a detailed contract and check all the terms and conditions, materials, start date, end date and costs, and if necessary, insist that any changes be written in. Both the consumer and contractor must sign and date the contract, and the consumer should get a completed copy for safekeeping.
By law, contractors are required to print their Connecticut license number on their contracts, business cards, on their vehicles, and in all advertising. A consumer can verify a contractor’s registration at www.ct.gov/dcp by selecting “Verify a License” in the “Online Services” section.
Contractors should carry their own liability insurance and must be able to produce an insurance certificate as proof. The certificate should carry the name of the insurance company and the homeowner is urged to call the insurance agency on the certificate to confirm that coverage. To verify if an insurance agent or agency is licensed in Connecticut, please visit the Connecticut Insurance Department web page at http://www.cidverifylicense.ct.gov/CLIC/VerifyLicense.aspx.
Consumers who have home improvement questions or concerns are encouraged to contact the Department of Consumer Protection at dcp.frauds @ct.gov or at 1-800-842-2649.