WILKES-BARRE — Homeowners looking to remodel their homes or add a deck should do their homework, a representative from the Pennsylvania Builders Association said.
Below is a list of warning signs that should indicate a contractor is not on the level:
• A contractor approaches you about damage to your property.
• You’re told you’ve been chosen as a demonstration project at a special price.
• You’re told a contract “won’t be necessary.”
• You’re asked to pay for the entire job upfront.
• You’re told the price is only good for today.
• The contractor can’t provide references.
• You can’t verify a business address.
• You can’t find the contractor in the Home Improvement Contractor list through the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s office.
• High pressure sales tactics.
Homeowners are reminded to ask contractors they hire for their state-required registration number any time they get a quote for home repairs or remodeling.
In 2008, PBA worked with the state General Assembly to pass the Home Improvement Contractor Protection Act, which went into effect on July 1, 2009. Contractor registration is intended to provide another layer of consumer protection and to authorize criminal penalties for home improvement fraud.
“Unregistered home improvement contractors are breaking the law, and we need the help of homeowners to alert the Attorney General’s office any time they get a visit from an unregistered contractor,” said PBA President Larry Eberly. “Consumers who use unregistered home improvement contractors for remodeling or repairs are taking the risk of being ripped off by someone who is skirting the law.”
Although contractors are required to register under the law, their appearance in the registry does not mean the Attorney General’s office endorses their work. Registration is not a license or seal of approval.