The choice of contractor can make or break a home remodeling project. Andrew Lin / Flickr
CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is reminding consumers they should have a written contract when hiring someone for spring home improvement projects.
Some of the most common consumer complaints received by the Attorney General’s office are lack of home improvement licensing and work completion.
“Home improvement season is a time when those looking to save a buck could be susceptible to fraud,” Morrisey said in a press release. “Signing a contract is perhaps the best safeguard to protect yourself from getting ripped off. It sets guidelines and expectations for the work so no one is treated unfairly.”
State law requires a written contract when hiring a contractor for home improvement projects costing $250 or more. In addition to a contract, jobs of $2,500 or more require the contractor to be licensed by the state Contractor Licensing Board.
Things to remember when drafting and signing a contract include:
* The contractor’s name, address and telephone number.
* A description in “plain language” of all goods and services purchased.
* The contract price with all credit or financing information.
* An approximate completion date.
* The consumer’s right to cancel the contract within three business days.
Drafting a contract can be easy and does not require a lawyer. Such agreements should be signed and dated by both the consumer and the contractor before any work begins. Each party should retain a copy of the contract.
For more information, read the brochure “Measuring Up: A Consumer’s Guide to Hiring Contractors for Home Repairs” online.
Anyone with questions or knowledge of a potential home repair scam is asked to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at http://www.wvago.gov.