CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office is reminding consumers who are considering home improvements to do their homework before hiring a contractor.
“This time of year is ideal for home improvements, and many individuals and companies will seek out potential work,” Morrisey said. “Consumers should do their homework and make sure they know who they’re hiring. That can make a difference and save consumers from potential complications down the road.”
Morrisey's office suggests consumers ask trusted friends and family for references or search online reviews. The AG's office also says It is important consumers know how to navigate any contract.
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.
A contract always should include the contractor’s name, address, telephone number and contractor license number as well as a description in “plain language” of all goods and services purchased. Also, the contract price with all credit or financing information, an approximate completion date and notification of the consumer’s three-day right to cancel any contract signed at the project site should all be included.
The AG's office says 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, consumers can read the Attorney General’s online brochure “Measuring Up: A Consumer’s Guide to Hiring Contractors for Home Repairs."
The AG's office asks anyone with questions or knowledge of a potential home improvement scam 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 www.wvago.gov.