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Homeowners seek advice about labor jobs in Connecticut

Posted on March 19, 2011

Homeowners are getting schooled on how to pick out people and companies for labor jobs in Connecticut without getting scammed.

In 2010, 1,401 consumers filed complaints related to home improvement fraud in New Jersey alone, making it the second most common consumer complaint filed in the state last year. National Consumer Protection Week (March 6-12, 2011) aims to arm consumers with an arsenal of resources and emphasizes the importance of protecting privacy, managing money and debt, avoiding identity theft, and avoiding fraud and scams. In honor of this week that aims to better educate and protect consumers, Power Home Remodeling Group, the nation’s fourth largest home improvement company, offers tips to help homeowners select a home improvement contractor and navigate an industry often fraught with dishonest providers and unethical practices.

This winter’s heavy snowfall and subsequent thawing and refreezing each evening caused thousands of dollars in damages to homes across the region. Repairs will be needed for leaky roofs, down gutters and soggy drywall before the rainy spring season, making now a great time for homeowners to become knowledgeable on best practices to avoid home improvement fraud. The challenging winter season and subsequent contractor scams have also captured the attention of Delaware Attorney General Beau Biden who issued a plea to Delawareans urging them to be wary of snowstorm related repair fraud.

“After 19 years and more than 40,000 customers, we remain very passionate about home improvement and helping homeowners become more savvy consumers to better protect their homes and their investment,” said Jeff Kaliner, co-founder and chief executive officer of Power Home Remodeling Group. “There are several critical questions homeowners must ask before hiring and trusting someone to work on or at their home.”

Below are several Power tips for homeowners looking to hire a knowledgeable and trustworthy home improvement contractor:

* Don’t pay in full up front. Only make a final payment when the work is completed.
* A written contract is your right as a consumer. Always obtain a written proposal, including a cost estimate.
* Seek proof of your contractor’s license and insurance. You are well within your right as a consumer to insist on seeing proof that your potential contractor is legally operational.
* Obtain recommendations. Use established and well-recommended contractors. Consider how long the company has been in business and how many service and installation technicians they have at their disposal.
* An award-winning company is more trustworthy. A company that has won industry awards is confident enough to be in the spotlight. If the company welcomes the scrutiny that comes with an award selection process, it is likely they have upstanding business practices.
* Research your contractor with a consumer-friendly third party. Check out the company with your city or county, or opt for a contractor who is affiliated with the Better Business Bureau or local Chambers. Researching the company online is also a cost effective way to gather background information. Power has even set-up a review site at PHRGReviews.com offering customers a chance to tell us about their experiences.
* Consider the company’s hiring policies. Do they drug test and background check employees before hiring them — and continue random tests?
* Plan for emergencies. It is important to know that the company is available nights and weekends with customer service representatives and technicians to handle any service calls or emergencies.

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