County Prosecutor and Office of Consumer Protection Issue Warning to Home Improvement Contractors
Woodbury: Gloucester County issued a warning today to home improvement contractors who have not yet registered with the state or whose registration is not current.
The New Jersey Home Improvement Contractors Registration Act required all contractors conducting business in this state, and writing contracts in an amount five-hundred dollars or above, to be registered with the State Office of Consumer Affairs. Existing home contractors should have been registered by December 31, 2005 and must renew their $90 registration annually.
Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney said, “We have a lot of excellent home contractors in our county and they work hard and most of them are registered, but we continue to see a lot of them who are not registered or have not filed for renewals.”
Any contractor can go to the state web-site and download an application and can renew online at www.njconsumeraffairs.com/contractors or call 1-800-242-5846.
Freeholder Liaison to Consumer Protection and the County Prosecutor Giuseppe (Joe) Chila added “Home Contractors in the county need to know that we are going to be more aggressive about pursuing unregistered contractors operating in Gloucester County. Working as home contractor and not being registered is a fourth degree crime.”
Fines for working on home remodeling and not being registered can be as high as $10,000 for the first offense and $20,000 for each subsequent offense, or jail time if the crime is egregious enough as determined by the County Prosecutor.
“The licensing procedure is a step the State of New Jersey has taken to distinguish legitimate home improvement contractors from frauds,” Gloucester County Prosecutor Sean F. Dalton said. “For the protection of consumers and their own reputations, contractors should obtain their permits.”
Freeholder Director Sweeney also noted that “One sign that a contractor doesn’t have their registration may be if a contractor insists that a homeowner get the permits from their municipality to do construction on ones home. Contractors are required to show their registration when they file for permits in all municipalities.”
Any home contractor who has filed or re-filed in the past six weeks and still has not received noticed from the state should contact the Gloucester County Office of Consumer Protection at 856-384-6855, where staff can assist in getting answers on the status applications.