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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Raquel Guillory, 410-576-6357
rguillory@oag.state.md.us

Attorney General Warns Consumers to Beware of
Home Repair Scams


BALTIMORE, MD (June 7, 2007) – Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler says it’s that time of year again when many consumers consider home improvement projects–and when scam artists may make the rounds. Springtime often brings out roving con artists who knock on people’s doors and offer to do work such as roofing, gutter cleaning, driveway paving or tree pruning. They sometimes appear in the aftermath of hailstorms or tornados, offering to repair storm damage. Some warning signs of a scam include:

  • an offer of a reduced price because they’ve “just done a job nearby and have materials left over;”
  • an offer of a “special” percentage off the repair without being clear about what the bottom-line price will be;
  • no street address or telephone number, just a post office box or an answering service; and,
  • a refusal to give a written estimate or contract.

Attorney General Gansler offered these tips for consumers who need work done on their homes:

  • Get recommendations for contractors from satisfied friends and neighbors.
  • Ask to see a contractor’s Maryland Home Improvement Commission license, and get the license number and expiration date. Contractors must display their home improvement license number on all of their home improvement contracts, trucks and advertisements.
  • Go to the Home Improvement Commission’s Web site (www.dllr.state.md.us/pq) to verify a contractor’s license. Call the Commission (410-230-6309) to ask about complaints filed against a company. If a contractor you hire fails to do the job, or does it poorly, you may be able to recover your losses through the Home Improvement Commission’s Guaranty Fund if your contractor is licensed.
  • Call the Consumer Protection Division (410-528-8662) to ask about any complaints filed against the company.
  • Get references and check them to see if the work was done properly, on schedule, and within the contract price.
  • Get estimates from at least two or three companies, especially for expensive repairs.

For more information on home repair scams, go to www.oag.state.md.us/Consumer/127.pdf. The Attorney General’s office distributes The Consumer’s Edge through businesses, schools, and community associations. Groups interested in receiving the newsletter should call 410-576-6500.

   

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