In one of my previous posts, I wrote about the unfortunate reputation that exists within the Chimney Sweep industry for taking advantage of the unknowing customer and provided some tips for avoiding these types of companies.  Click here to read the entire post.  Unfortunately, this type of behavior isn’t just limited to the Chimney Sweep industry.

This past July, an article on NJ.com cited more than five dozen home improvement contractors by the NJ State Division of Consumer Affairs for a variety of violations ranging from operating without proper registration to abandoning pre-paid jobs.  In fact, in 2012 alone, over 1400 complaints involving home improvement contractors were recorded with the state.

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All too often, many of these contractors prey on unsuspecting homeowners requesting advance payment for their work and then leaving the job unfinished.  As a homeowner, you need to do your research on any contractor when considering any type of work to avoid home improvement scams.  A simple Google search is a great place to start and if you happen to be an Angie’s List member, even better.

When looking for a contractor for your next home improvement project, first and foremost, make sure the contractor is licensed and registered with the state and has proper liability insurance (which they are required to show you).  For a project that is over $500, a contractor must provide you with “detailed” written contracts that specify the agreed upon price, start and end dates, the extent of the work and the contractors business info.  Second, never work with a contractor that asks to be paid in cash.  The NJ Department of Consumer Affairs has a great article about hiring a home improvement contractor that provides a wealth of tips and consumer information when looking to hire a home improvement contractor.

At George the Chimney Guy, we believe in doing the job right the first time.  We will always provide you with a free written estimate that details all of the work and payment is not required until the job is finished.  Also, we have no problem providing our customers with any of our credentials, its our way of providing our customers with a safe working environment and peace of mind knowing the job will be done the right way.

When considering your next project, remember these tips to avoid home improvement scams.  If you think you have come across a contractor who is unlawful or is giving you the run around, report them to the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs by filing a complaint at www.njconsumeraffairs.gov or by calling them at (800) 242-5846.