CONSUMER PROTECTION ADVISORY: AVOID PRICE GOUGING DURING STORM REPAIRS
Thursday, May 31st 2018 – The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) is reminding consumers how to avoid price gouging as they continue to make repairs after this month’s storms and tornados. DCP has received a number of inquiries from consumers with concerns about price gouging. This could be a problem as many residents are still making repairs to their home and their yard as a result of recent storms.
“Making repairs after an unexpected storm can be a stressful time for consumers,” said Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull, “We urge consumers to always take a step back and do their homework before committing to hire someone, especially when they have repairs that need to be completed after a disaster.”
Before consumers make a commitment to anyone offering to make repairs, they should consider the following:
- Never jump at the first offer you get for repairs. Gather multiple quotes for the work you need completed so you know you’re getting a fair price. Remember, the cheapest price may not always be the best deal.
- Verify anyone you plan to hire has the appropriate credential with the state before signing a contract.
- Those performing home improvement work require a registration that can be verified at www.elicense.ct.gov.
- Only licensed arborists with the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) may prune, cable, fertilize, or spray trees on a commercial basis. Consumers can verify an arborist license at http://www.kellysolutions.com/CT/.
- If someone is simply removing fallen trees from a property, they do not require any state credential.
- Have a Contract:Make sure you have a written contract signed by both parties.
- Ask Questions: Always ask questions if there is anything you don’t understand about the repair process, or your contract.
- Check References: Make sure to always ask for multiple references for your contractor. It’s important that their references have had work similar to the repairs you need completed done on their home.
- Avoid Scams: Never agree to work with anyone who offers to do a job for less if you pay cash, or who isn’t willing to sign a contract. That’s almost always a scam.
Consumers who have concerns about price gouging are encouraged to file complaints with DCP by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with details regarding their issue.
The DEEP Pesticide Management Division oversees the arborist licensing program, and can be contacted by calling (860) 424-3369.
Lora Rae Anderson
(860) 713-6019 (office)
(860) 247-8711 (cell)