County Consumer Office Warns of Door-to-Door Home Contracting Scams
(Woodbury, NJ) - The Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection is warning county residents from being lured with home repair offers that are "too good to be true."
The County Office of Consumer Protection has received an influx of complaints over the past month from consumers who are being approached by home contractors for home repairs ranging from new siding to complete driveway restorations. Residents need to be wary of promises and offers to fix-up homes after recent storms and making claims against their homeowners insurance.
Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney said, "Before hiring any home contractor the consumer should do detailed background check on the business to make sure they are getting someone reputable. There are a lot of fly-by-night operations that tend to thrive in an economy where people are looking for a bargain. Ask for references and follow up and call people who have had work done, visit the contractor's office or other jobs to make sure they are a legitimate operation."
Director Sweeney said that Under New Jersey's Consumer Fraud Act, contractors are required to supply the customer with certain guarantees and contracts must be clearly defined with projected start and completion dates and warranties, if any, and other details.
"Consumers must be vigilant," said Freeholder Joe Chila. "Despite consumers' best efforts, anyone can fall prey to promises of shiny new siding or a driveway that will last forever." Chila is the liaison to the Office of Consumer Protection.
Freeholder Chila said, "A natural red flag would be anyone selling services door-to door. Residents need to read contracts carefully and make sure the contractor is registered with the State of New Jersey and that they have a physical address, not a PO Box listed on contracts."
Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean Dalton said, "Make sure your written agreement provides for payment in installments. Be wary of contractors requesting large payments upfront before any work has been done."
The New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act calls for fines up to $10,000.00 for the first offense and 20,000.00 for each subsequent offense for fraud cases.
In March the state Office of Consumer Affairs warned residents of scams involving price gouging after the storms that brought heavy rains and flooding to our area. Once a state of emergency has been declared, it is illegal for someone to sell merchandise or services because of that "state of emergency" for more than 10% above the normal selling price.
For more information please contact the Gloucester County office of Consumer Affairs for more detailed information at 856-384-6855.