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Governor Cuomo, the Department of Financial Services, and the Department of State remind you to

BEWARE  OF  HOME  REPAIR  SCAMS

Investigate Contractors  |  Shop Around  |  Get a Written Contract  |  Don’t be Pressured

WARNING SIGNS – AVOID A CONTRACTOR OR SALESMAN WHO:

TO PROTECT YOURSELF:

FOLLOW THIS CHECKLIST TO FIND A CONTRACTOR TO REPAIR YOUR HOME

Check out contractors:

  • Ask how long they have been in business
  • Ask for references
  • Check references!
  • Search online resources
  • Ask if they guarantee or warrantee their work

Make sure they are:

  • licensed
  • bonded
  • insured

Ask to see:

  • insurance policy, or certificate of insurance

Get estimates:

  • Get at least two estimates
  • Compare costs, materials and methods

Demand a written contract that includes:

  • detailed description of the work to be performed
  • exactly what materials will be used and their quality
  • starting date and estimated completion date
  • price
  • payment arrangements
  • finance charges (if applicable)

Before you sign a contract:

  • read the contract yourself (don’t rely on the salesperson to read it for you)
  • make sure you understand everything in the contract

Do not sign a contract that:

  • is missing information or has blank pages
  • you don’t understand
  • is different from what you discussed with the contractor

Retain copies of:

  • your signed contract
  • all other signed documents
  • guarantees or warranties on work or materials

Upon project completion:

  • inspect the work to make sure it is done properly
  • do not make a final payment or sign completion certificate until the work is completed to your satisfaction

Many companies give free inspections and written estimates - get two or three before choosing a contractor. The lowest price is not always the best deal. Compare costs, materials, and methods suggested by different companies to decide what materials and methods are best for your home.

IF YOU HAVE BEEN THE VICTIM OF A SCAM

If you think you have been the victim of a scam, contact a lawyer immediately. There are time limits to cancel sales and pursue legal claims.

Contact the Department of Financial Services, your district attorney or the Attorney General’s Office.

If you have a problem with a home improvement contractor and can't resolve it yourself, you can file a complaint with the New York Department of State online at www.dos.ny.gov or by calling 1-800-697-1220.

Contact your insurance company, agent or broker to get answers to specific questions about your policies or claims.

If you need more help, call the New York State Department of Financial Services at 1-800-342-3736 between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For disaster related questions call the DFS Disaster Hotline 24/7 with banking and insurance problems: 1-800-339-1759.

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Updated 12/03/2012