Be Wise With Home Improvement Contractors

by Press Release--Burlington County | Nov 20, 2008
Be Wise With Home Improvement Contractors With today’s slow real estate market, more and more homeowners are opting to make improvements to their existing homes rather than trying to find a new one.

Burlington County Director of Consumer Affairs Renee Borstad believes it is one of the reasons “a rash of home improvement contractor complaints’’ in recent weeks have been reported to her office.

“Complaints about home improvement contractors used to peak in the summer and carry into the fall, but now we are seeing related complaints year-round,’’ Borstad said.

“Problems with home improvement contractors is one of the most common complaints we get in our Office of Consumer Affairs,’’ Freeholder Stacey Jordan said. “We urge residents to call the Office (609-265-5054) before they sign a contract to ask for a three-year history to determine if there are any complaints against that contractor.’’

Other valuable tips on hiring a contractor or contractors to perform home improvements can be found in a 1 minute, 47 second video on the County web site’s (www.co.burlington.nj.us) main page under News and Events: Consumer Public Service Announcement Videos.

Tips on hiring a home improvement contractor include getting at least three written estimates, making sure each contractor licensed and registered in New Jersey to perform the work contracted to do, require the contract to procure all necessary permits, make no payments until the work begins, and withhold final payment until all work is approved by your local code official.

This video is the second of 11 to be presented online by the Freeholders in a continuing effort to educate consumers in how to get what they pay for.

Borstad urged consumers not to pay cash or by check made out to the contractor. “It is important that checks be made payable to the business, not an individual,’’ Borstad urged.

“Consumer warning information is worth repeating,’’ Jordan said. “We can’t stress enough that consumers need to be educated and protect themselves because once they are a victim, there is little help we can provide.’’

“We want everyone to be an educated consumer so they at least get what they pay for,’’ Jordan added.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, the number of reported victims of consumer fraud continues to rise each year, with 30.2 million Americans having filed complaints in 2006.

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Author: Press Release--Burlington County

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